In late July of 2015, John Coppelella agreed to a 3 team trade involving 13 players in total. This trade resulted in negative WAR for Atlanta while sending over 10 WAR worth of future value in the coming years. Today’s topic, Worst Trades in Braves History: Hector Olivera.
Worst Trades in Braves History, Hector Olivera: The Return
I vividly remember not understanding this move from the minute it happened. The Braves traded several players in the middle of a rebuild for the 30 year old Cuban “prospect” Hector Olivera as the centerpiece of the deal. He was not proven, but clearly impressed one Braves scout. The Braves also received Paco Rodriguez, Zachary Bird, and a competitive balance pick that landed them Joey Wentz.
Worst Trades in Braves History, Hector Olivera: The Cost
The Braves gave up Alex Wood, Bronson Arroyo, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan, and top prospect Jose Peraza. Alex Wood has since accumulated over 5 WAR as a middle of rotation starter. He broke out in 2017 by going 16-3 in an All Star season. Arroyo was nothing more than a salary dump. Jim Johnson was a decent bullpen arm at the time, but was mostly unsuccessful in his time with the Dodgers. Luis Avilan was a promising 25 year left handed reliever who has turned into a reliable arm to this day. Finally, Jose Peraza posted a 2.5 WAR season in 2018 and has continued to be a quality utility piece.
Atlanta gave up a lot in this trade and expected Olivera to bloom into the next Cuban superstar after being signed to a lofty 6 year 62.5 million deal only four months prior. Hector Olivera played in only 30 games for Atlanta posting a negative .4 WAR in 2 seasons. He grounded into more double plays than he hit homers. His bat speed and mechanics were nowhere near major league caliber. Olivera was arrested on April 13th, 2016 for domestic abuse leaving a black eye on the organization.
In a “you take out my trash, I take out your’s”, a mere 3 months after the domestic violence charge, the Braves traded Olivera to the San Diego Padres for Matt Kemp. If the NL had a DH, Kemp would’ve been serviceable, but alas there wasn’t and he wasn’t as he put up -26 Defensive Runs Saved in about a season’s worth of games between 2 years while hovering around an .800 OPS. To undo all this mess and to consolidate salaries to 1 year, when Alex Anthopoulos took over in 2017, he traded Kemp and his 2 year commitment to the Dodgers for Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Adrian Gonzalez, and Charlie Culberson. Gonzalez was immediately released, Kazmir never played and hasn’t since, McCarthy was less than league average for 78.2 innings before getting injured, and the least likely piece to have real value in the entire trade, Charlie Culberson, became Charlie Clutch, a real Braves folk hero, aiding the Braves in an unexpected division championship in 2018.
Thanks for reading “Worst Trades in Braves History: Hector Olivera. Check out our entire catalog of Best/Worst Trades in Braves History here.