It can be hard to remember all of the little deals that Coppy has made, especially when he’s made so many, and so many have included more significant players. But the small deals have been where Coppy has been able to increase the breadth and depth of the farm system, and if not for these deals, we wouldn’t have some pieces in place that could play a role in the next great Braves team. This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of every exchange of talent the team has made since the rebuild began, but it will still include most deals that don’t involve an important major league player.
As time would tell, Coppy was intent on trading low-ceiling players for high-ceiling prospects and other young players. Vizcaino was previously acquired in the Melky Cabrera/Javier Vazquez deal, and was then traded for Paul Maholm. When healthy, Vizcaino is a top reliever in the game, but is struggling to consistently stay healthy. La Stella played an important role in the Cubs’ World Series team, but the Braves should be happy with the trade.
Varvaro was a decent middle reliever, whom the Red Sox needed, and Kurcz was ultimately traded a few months later for bonus pool money. Fun fact: Varvaro is now a police officer.
Two low-ceiling relievers for a former top prospect. Banuelos never gained consistent health and effectiveness, and the Braves released him in 2016. Carpenter and Shreve have been inconsistent relievers for the past two years. The Braves even brought Carpenter to spring training in 2016.
Low-ceiling prospect for a high-ceiling lottery ticket, Sanchez. Sanchez is still very young (19), and has a mid-90s fastball, but continues to be overshadowed by the bountiful harvest of pitching prospects. He could settle in as a nice lefty reliever within the next couple years.
The Braves increased their minor league catching depth by trading two AAAA relievers. Hale had done some nice work as a swing man for Atlanta, but neither have done anything since. Briceno ended up in the Andrelton Simmons trade, and O’Dowd has done nothing. He’s in the White Sox organization now.
Weird trade. Callaspo was a bust for Atlanta, Stults has never really been good, and Jaime and Thomas are both reliever filler, and the Braves were able to add it all up for Juan Uribe, who had a strong 167 PAs of .285/.353/.464 production before being traded, and Chris Withrow, who pitched some strong middle relief innings in 2016 before being DFA’ed due to roster crunches.
The Braves essentially bought Touki for $13M. Touki was a former 1st round pick, with exceptional stuff and youth, and the Braves got him by being willing to take Arroyo’s contract. Touki is consistently in the top 15 of a very deep farm system (formerly a top-5 prospect for Arizona), and after a dominant second half in low-A, he is primed for a breakout year. The D-Backs inexplicably traded a first round pick for short-term salary flexibility.
The Braves sold several low-minors and low-ceiling prospects to different teams to get enough international bonus pool money to land Derian Cruz and Christian Pache. While these two have garnered less attention than superstar signee Kevin Maitan, they both rank in Atlanta’s top 30 prospects. John Hart has specifically commented on Pache multiple times, and both could be getting underrated in this deep farm. These trades (and the subsequent signings) and the Touki trade stand as two creative sets of moves by Coppy to utilize finite 2015 assets to deepen the farm.
During a rebuilding year, the Braves parlayed two strong platoon players into two starting pitching prospects. Gant and Whalen both filled major league innings in 2016 before being flipped, Gant in the Jaime Garcia trade and Whalen in the Alex Jackson deal.
In effort to consolidate the monies owed to Chris Johnson into the 2015 and 2016 seasons, the Braves took the remainder of money owed to Swisher and Bourn so that they would be free of money owed to Johnson in 2017.
To be continued…