After a VERY hectic 24 hours or so, the Atlanta Braves have finalized the deal with LA Dodgers, sending LHP Alex Wood, closer Jim Johnson, minor league infielder and former top prospect Jose Peraza, injured pitcher Bronson Arroyo, and reliever Luis Avilan in exchange for Cuban signee Hector Olivera, Paco Rodriguez, the 35th pick in the 2016 draft (competitive balance pick), and minor league prospect pitcher Zach Bird.
The loss of Alex Wood and Jose Peraza has, understandably, elicited the strongest reaction from Braves fans last night. Wood has a 21-20 record in his 2.5 seasons with the Braves with a 3.10 ERA, 3.17 FIP, and has struck out 8.2 batters per nine innings pitched. All of his averages this season have been below those career averages, but its still shocking to see Wood traded. Jim Johnson, who has performed quite well out of the Braves bullpen including his short stint as the Braves closer after Jason Grilli's season ending injury, was expected to be traded by the deadline as he is on an affordable one year deal. Arodys Vizcaino is the likely replacement for Johnson in the closer role.
Jose Peraza, who was considered by some publications as the top prospect in the Braves system and considered at least a top 3 organizational prospect by most, has slashed .294/.318/.379 in 2014 at AAA Gwinnett. While he certainly has a strong skill set including his top of the scale speed, some have openly wondered where he was going to play for the Braves, especially given his issues getting on base consistently. With so much young middle infield talent in the system, the Braves seemingly dealt from a position of strength.
Luis Avilan was one the Braves best relievers in 2013, but struggled quite a bit in 2014 and has been inconsistent in 2015, giving up a few notable home runs in late inning situations that have cost the Braves a few games. On the whole those, he has been a serviceable arm out of the bullpen, but the addition of Paco Rodriguez seems to replace him in that role.
In the deal, the Braves are receiving 30 year old 3B Hector Olivera who was signed out of Cuba last year on a 6 year, $62 million deal by the Dodgers. The Braves were said to highly covet him, but could not afford to bid against the Dodgers for his services. A good portion of that contract was in the form of a $28 million dollar signing bonus, so the Braves are only on the hook for about $31.25 million of that amount. Olivera's bat is what has interested the Braves the most, although he certainly comes with a certain amount of risk given his age and his injury history. He has rumored to have elbow issues and is currently rehabbing from a hamstring injury. In fact, the last hurdle that the deal had was allowing the Braves to thoroughly review Olivera's medical records.
The Braves also received Zack Bird, a power pitching prospect who ranked #15 in the Dodgers system who has a fastball that can hit the upper 90s but has had limited success in the minors thus far. Paco Rodriguez, who is currently recovering from surgery to clean out loose bodies in his elbow, was a 2nd pick in the 2012 draft and could prove to be the lights-out lefty reliever the Braves have been yearning for. He is currently injured.
The draft pick the Braves receive in this deal required a certain amount of wrangling and rearranging to get as it originally resided with the Marlins. Since competitive balance picks can only be traded once, the Braves, Marlins, and Dodgers had to work out the logistics to send the pick directly to the Braves from the Marlins. It is the 35th pick in the 2016 draft, but due to teams losing first round picks to sign players with qualifying offers, that pick should be higher than that before its all said and done.
While the Braves have long wanted to get Olivera on their roster, reactions around the league seem to seriously wonder aloud if the Braves overpaid to get him. Many Braves fans are exceedingly unhappy with the deal, while others are waiting to see all of the terms before making a judgment. In short, if Olivera provides a real offensive spark and Wood continues to regress, then its possible that the Braves made a good deal, but we won't know for some time. As for the Dodgers, they now have some more pieces to trade in their quest to trade and bolster their chances at a strong playoff push.
One final note, as an added surprise in the deal...the Braves get a little bit more salary relief.
Source: Dodgers receiving Bronson Arroyo from Braves in three-way trade.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 30, 2015