Braves MLB Trades Under Alex Anthopoulos

This is the 2nd part in a study on transactions orchestrated by Alex Anthopoulos. The first part, Free Agent Signings, can be found here. Finding diamonds in the rough seemed to be a strength for AA as most of his dealing in free agency worked out. In today’s piece, Braves MLB Trades Under Alex Anthopoulos, will he be as successful? Let’s see…

Braves MLB Trades Under Alex Anthopoulos

Braves MLB Trades Under Alex Anthopoulos: Outgoing Value

Total Cost: 60MM

Total fWAR: 2.1, worth 16.8 MM

43.2 MM of “gained” production

Braves MLB Trades Under Alex Anthopoulos: Incoming Value

Total Cost: 93.65 MM

Total fWAR: 7.1, worth 56.8 MM

36.85 MM of lost production

Total for both: 6.35 MM of “gained” production

Recap

Is it a win when you lose less than your competition, but still lose a ton? As far as production is concerned, I mean…I guess. If one were to completely remove the Kemp trade, the numbers look drastically different:

  • Outgoing: .5 fWAR, 16 MM cost, 4MM value (12 MM of “gained” production)
  • Incoming: 5.9 fWAR, 44.65 MM cost, 47.2 MM value (2.55 MM of gained production)
  • Total: 14.55 MM of gained production

In that exercise, which I think is pretty fair as the Olivera/Kemp debacle wasn’t Anthopoulos’s mess, he comes out looking pretty good. However, just like the pieces on the rebuild, it’s important to remember the cost-controlled players that were outgoing and incoming that are still under original team control. For the Braves, those are:

These 4 guys have value, but they also come with a fairly large combined cost. However, like O’Day (and Chris Martin, to a less extent), the Braves get first dibs on future contract negotiations and that holds value.

Now the other side:

That’s a lot of lottery tickets and live arms that the Braves sent out and while it’s more likely than not that most of them are fringy Major Leaguers, there’s a real chance some adapt their games enough to have decent careers and produce while they’re cheap. Obviously, Wentz is the big loss here, but he went under the knife for TJ a few months back and will be on the shelf until 2021 (which might not matter anyway). Also, I still like Demeritte and Cumberland’s chances to maximize their skillsets and become average big leaguers, and Sims has a real chance to become a back end bullpen stud. While not the top-tier the Braves kept in-house, almost everyone on this list is worthy of tab-keeping.

Thanks for reading “Braves MLB Trades Under Alex Anthopoulos”. If you enjoyed this piece, check out the 7-part series on the rebuild, of which all parts can be found here (obviously, start at piece 1).

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

35 thoughts on “Braves MLB Trades Under Alex Anthopoulos”

  1. Thanks, Ryan! Striking to me just how many of these are relievers. I think it’s fair to think this is how AA approaches the bullpen: dumpster diving.

  2. I was very high on Wentz, was disappointing to see he needed TJ. Demeritte didn’t do bad in his MLB debut last year either. Hopefully Greene has a better short year than did in his time with the Braves last year.

  3. I think Alex is an interesting dealer, but the 2 years tell a different story. In 2018, he definitely bought low on arms in Shane Carle, Jonny Venters, Brad Brach, and Kevin Gausman. However, 2019 tells a different story as he traded real assets to rebuild the weakest part in the system, all the while making sure he didn’t over-commit in years.

    I feel like we’re seeing a trend. His aggressiveness will only increase from here when he sees something he needs. While I always expect a big trade, I think we will see it this year or next.

  4. @2
    Shane Greene was the prototype reliever that I did not want AA to go after as there was just no way his results would carry over to a full year. However, he has value and I’m ok with him as he should be a fine 7th inning reliever with a mid-3s ERA.

  5. Attention Braves Journalers:

    On the last thread, I had to remove a comment. I’m not going to get into the details but I feel like it crossed the line of conversation that we hold dear here. We are in such an odd and fragile time in our society with many different viewpoints. If we continue to talk COVID and how it relates to baseball, we need to keep our rebuttals respectful of each other’s opinions.

    I don’t like being a disciplinarian, but open condescension will not be tolerated. I’m a fun loving elementary education teacher that has a real passion for baseball and would rather not have to make these decisions (which is why I’d like a 3-person board that doesn’t include me to deal with this stuff…reach out to me if you’d be willing to be part of this).

    In short. If you can’t be nice, be respectful.

  6. I’m a firm believer in the no politics and no ad hominem rule.

    I saw the comment you deleted before you deleted it. It asked whether one of the commenters here had standing to make a comment; in fact, the person in question has been here a long time. Personally, I don’t think that the length of time someone has been commenting here matters as much as the fact that we’re all Braves fans here, and if we disagree, we can do it without going after each other.

  7. If Shane Greene can split the difference between his first half and second half last year, he is more than worth Wentz and Demeritte, in my opinion. The trading deadline was great not because we parted with so many prospects but because we spent so much money. That was the surprise for me.

    So, let’s say the Opening Day starter is a righty. We have a DH now. Are we ready to stomach that Nick Markakis will be DHing over Austin Riley? Because, ladies and gentlemen, that’s what’s going to happen.

  8. @9
    This is why I think the Braves need another LHH. Now that there’s officially a DH, Scooter Gennett or Ben Zobrist make a whole lot of sense for this team. This team looks crazy solid against LHP: Acuña (CF), Albies, FF5, Ozuna, Duvall (RF), Fl’arnaud, Riley, Camargo (DH), Dansby.

    But there’s missing parts against RHP. Adding Markakis in LF, Ender to CF, and Ozuna to DH doesn’t move the needle. Camargo is historically better from the right side. Gennett/Zobrist could really help, but it’s hard to see where they’d play? Who’s sitting?

    I still want to trade Ender. Just don’t see the point in carrying him.

  9. Questions for the community:

    1) Did someone — players or owners — “win” this negotiation?
    2) Was there a point in the negotiations where there was a high risk that either party would permanently walk away and there would be no season?
    3) What impact will these negotiations be on the 2021 CBA negotiation?
    4) What level of responsibility should the players and staff assume in taking the necessary precautions to avoid getting COVID? Should they “bubble” themselves? Should they force their inner circles — families, friends, associates — to take “bubble”-type precautions to avoid getting COVID?

  10. @10 Having both Ender and Markakis on the roster puts Riley on the bench, even with a DH, and that’s unacceptable. I can’t decide which one I would jettison first between Markakis and Ender, but one of them ought to be at some point. Riley is in jeopardy of being Klesko’ed if he can’t get PAs against righties because we’d rather have Markakis’s .800 OPS vs. RHP instead of Riley’s, I dunno, .780 OPS vs. RHP.

  11. @11, IMHO:

    1) No, not really.

    2) This only existed on one side, as the players did not have the ability to walk away and prevent the season. It seemed like there were a couple of owners who possibly didn’t want a season, so this appeared briefly possible, but not for long.

    3) Scorched-earth toxic. All throughout the 2019 season, many people openly discussed the likelihood of a work stoppage around the 2021 CBA negotiation, and many thought it was pretty likely. I think that the odds are higher now, verging on near-certainty.

    4) This question haunts me. At the end of the day, it’s all of our responsibilities to do what we can to stay healthy — wear masks, practicing physical distancing, washing hands, and basically avoiding going anywhere that we don’t have to go — but it’s like defensive driving, as there’s a limited amount of it that’s actually under any one of our control, if others are behaving more recklessly. Dozens of players and staff have gotten sick over the last week. More will get sick. I think the teams and the league bear an even greater responsibility to do as much as they can to protect their people’s health. Quite frankly, I don’t see and I’ve never seen how this season can be played without a “bubble.”

  12. Back in the good old days when players were chattel and worked during the offseasons just to feed the kids, we didn’t have any stinking labor issues. The robber barons knew how to keep the masses in line.

    I love baseball. I hate exploitation. But …

    Who’s exploiting whom? Can’t we just all get along and play ball?

    Thank you for your usual stellar insights, Ryan.

  13. Since baseball is back, I’m going to honor that tradition by finding a trade partner for the Braves, & of course, all trades will involve Ender. Here’s my first proposal:

    Rangers get Shane Greene and Ender Inciarte
    Braves get Shin-Soo Choo and Bubba Thompson

    Do you do it?

  14. Indians get Ender Inciarte, Dansby Swanson, Bryce Wilson, Touki Toussaint and Austin Riley; Braves get Jose Ramirez and Shane Beiber.

  15. We have no use for Choo and the money doesn’t match up.
    That Indians trade is about $100M light on our side.

  16. vs RHP

    RF Acuña
    2b Albies
    1b Freeman
    LF Ozuna
    DH Markakis
    SS Swanson
    C D’Arnaud
    3b Camargo (or Riley)
    CF Inciarte

    Vs LHP

    CF Acuña
    2b Albies
    1b Freeman
    DH Ozuna
    SS Swanson
    C D’Arnaud
    RF Duvall
    LF Riley
    3b Camargo

  17. @11

    1) Short answer: No.

    Long answer: If all you’re looking at is this negotiation in and of itself, no. But going forward, the owners I guess are now aware that the players are back to being a solid bloc that it’ll be difficult to drive a wedge down the middle of. And the players I guess are now aware that the commissioner has some difficulty herding the cattle, so to speak (making him different from the previous commissioner in that regard). So if you put a gun to my head and asked me to choose a side that got the better of it, I’d probably choose the players…but the players actually lost some money and some things that they wanted to get themselves into this position, so I don’t know what you do with that.

    2) It depends on if you believe that Rob Manfred was telling the truth when he went on ESPN and said that he wasn’t confident there would be a season after Tony Clark sent his “when and where” letter. Given that the owners wound up implementing a season a couple weeks later with no guarantee that the players wouldn’t file a grievance, I’m guessing the chances weren’t that high that the owners would’ve banged the season…but it’s difficult to say for sure.

    3) I agree with Alex @13 on this. Either a lockout or a strike is virtually assured after the 2021 season barring some major breakthrough in relations out of left field over the upcoming offseason or something. There may even be a massive bout to determine which one (strike or lockout) it technically is, and therefore who can claim credit for the work stoppage. I mean, it’s bad. They’ll have three or so months after the expiration of the CBA to get it figured out to a degree where it won’t affect the season, so I’m not necessarily predicting that it’ll shorten the 2022 season. I wouldn’t be at all surprised, though.

    4) I think the players and staff do have to take responsibility for it. The league isn’t gonna force players to stay in their homes or hotel rooms the entire time…and they probably couldn’t even if they tried. How strict the players should be about keeping the so-called “bubble” is up for debate, but it’s gonna be highly counterproductive to the whole operation if you have a lot of players who refuse to wear masks, refuse to not go out partying on the road, etc.

  18. @17
    IMO, in a 1-year DH scenario, there’s totally a use for Choo. As a DH against a right-handed starter (which would likely be about 45 games), he’d slot in right behind Freddie. His splits against RHP in 2019 were same as his career(~.880 OPS).

    IMO, Ender’s defense doesn’t outweigh Acuña’s enough to make a significant difference in value, especially when he gets an offensive bump in value by being the CFer.

    I will say this… I’m on the wrong end of this argument anywhere I debate baseball, so there’s a large chance that I’m actually wrong… but Ender’s value is not that high to people in the industry, outside of the Braves org.

    On the $. You’re right. It doesnt match. Braves would essentially be paying 3MM to buy low on Bubba Thompson. There’s a scenario here where I could see Rangers sending cash to even out the financials. However, this is a fabricated trade and a near 0% chance it’ll actually happen.

  19. @18
    That lineup against RHP needs some real work and it’ll likely be 3/4 of what they see.

  20. I was really high on Choo a few years ago, but looking at the body of his work as a right fielder and his current age, I don’t really understand why. He’s been pretty consistent for 20 homeruns and about an 800 OPS over the last several years, but at age 37 I don’t see that continuing. I would rather take our chances in the outfield with Duvall and our prospects. As for the DH, I think we can do better for a lot cheaper.

  21. @16 the Indians might take that package for Lindor and Clevinger but Bieber and Ramirez both still have a lot of very cheap years left. They don’t really have a reason to trade either.

  22. @11
    1. No.
    2. Not from the negotiations.
    3. Until whatever is perceived as the last minute, neither side will negotiate in good faith in the next CBA. If one or both sides misperceives what is the last minute, then we will get a stoppage. The lack of good faith bargaining is going to be major crimp in whatever new contract is signed, unfortunately.
    4. I agree with Nick. The only thing I would add is that it is the family effects in particular family situations that probably matter the most here. The players themselves take far more risk under normal circumstances and I doubt the incremental risk to them registers very high. The players, I suspect, would be happy with a regime like the PGA: regular testing, sequestration for two weeks if positive. In fact, in a 60 game season, telling players they will miss a quarter season (or half the playoffs) if they test positive is probably all that is needed to get the prudent among them to behave sensibly. I suspect there will be in-game adjustments of some sort as well (how about no mound visits? I could get behind that one), but I think those are essentially all for show and demonstration effect.

    By the way, I take full responsibility for my prediction about the season not coming true, but I note that the fact that the player’s grievance process is still alive means that the holy grail of accounting transparency is still alive as well.

  23. In doing some research, I’ve come to conclude that 100 OPS is about the equivalent of 10 Defensive Runs saved in a regular season and ~3.25 for this abbreviated season. So, here’s my justification in trading for Choo.

    45 games as DH for Choo: .880 OPS
    45 games as CF for Ender: .740 OPS

    +140 OPS is = to 5.25 Defensive Runs Saved over the course of a 60 games season. Last year, Ender had a -1 DRS in 63 games and 17 in 155 games the year prior. Average the 2 years and prorate it to 60 games and one would get 4.4 DRS.

    So, while the difference might not be substantial, there is a difference and I’d prefer having a better bat, especially in a relatively average lineup against RHP. Also, if he ends up impressing early, Pache could be in there by game 10-15 and he’s the Andrelton equivalent to CF.

  24. I think Choo is a DH.

    But just to be clear, Pache isn’t Andrelton. In general, I’ve seen scouts give Pache a 70 on defense. Andrelton is an 80. Andrelton is Andruw on defense; Pache isn’t quite there. He’s merely extremely good.

  25. @26
    David Lee said he’s an Andrelton type CFer, and I don’t go against Lee when debating these things.

  26. Fair enough, I respect Lee a lot. Looking forward to seeing firsthand.

  27. @27

    I saw Pache play a lot in Gwinnett last year, and I would say that he’s good, but not Andrelton or Andruw.

    Of course, were Andrelton and Andruw themselves when they were in the minors? Perhaps not.

  28. When Andruw Jones was in the minor leagues, he was Andruw Jones. Here is his 1996:

    YearAgeTeam, LevelPAHR, RBIBA/OBP/SLG
    199619Durham, A+28917, 43.313/.419/.605
    199619Greenville, AA17612, 37.369/.432/.675
    199619Richmond, AAA465, 12.378/.391/.822
    199619ATL, MLB1135, 13.217/.265/.443

    Then he became the youngest player ever to hit multiple homers in the World Series.

    His defense was the real deal, too. No one can say that an 18 year old is definitely going to be Willie Mays, but… Andruw Jones was Andruw Jones.

  29. I don’t want to restart this conversation and I definitely don’t want to talk about anything but the cases, but the US had 36K new COVID positives yesterday and 37.5K today. That is a lot. I hope that we don’t go back in a lockdown.

  30. @33, one of the virus hot spots in Europe has been the popular ski resort Ischgl in Austria. At some point 40% of all infections in Austria were traced back to Ischgl. Anyway, all inhabitants of this resort just got tested and more than 42% have developed antibodies. Of these 42+%, only 15% got diagnosed – 85% did not notice the infection.
    With regular testing of the MLB players, every other day I heard, I suspect that teams will need the big rosters during the season.

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