TRADE: ATLANTA BRAVES
Over the past week, we had some preliminary discussions with multiple teams about moving James Paxton, but things really kicked into high gear on Monday. By Tuesday night, we had three significant offers from the Yankees, Astros, and Brewers. The Yankees, however, quickly moved on and acquired Madison Bumgarner from the Giants in a similar package to the one they had offered us.
Colby and I debated the other two offers we had received for a good two hours or so, but finally decided to just wait another day and talk to some other teams. That’s when the Nationals came calling the next morning, and we worked towards a monster deal both Colby and I loved. But the deal was contingent upon a couple things going right for the Nats in free agency, and the Braves had just made us a massive offer as well.
In the end, we came to an agreement with Atlanta to send Paxton for four young, controllable players who are either MLB-ready or close to it. Headlining the deal is MLB Pipeline’s 29th overall prospect, right-handed starting pitcher Kyle Wright. Wright made his MLB debut for the Braves in September, as a reliever, but could find his way into our rotation as early as Opening Day.
Joining Wright is lefty Max Fried, a fringe rookie who has done the bulk of his Major League work as a reliever but should find a home in our rotation at some point in 2019, if not immediately. Fried is still extremely valuable as a reliever, posting a 2.93 xFIP and a 12.8 K/9 in nine relief appearances last year.
The other two players we received in the deal, Kyle Muller and Greyson Jenista, would likely slot in the top four of our farm system right away. Muller is a left-handed starter who’s roughly a year away from his Major League debut. In 25 combined starts in Single-A, High-A, and Double-A last year, Muller struck out 129 batters over the course of 139.2 innings pitched. Jenista, the 49th overall pick of this year’s MLB Draft, slashed .265/.328/.395 in his first half year of professional baseball.
This was a great way for us to balance beefing up a notoriously poor farm system and staying competitive in 2019, something we feel Jerry Dipoto is likely aiming to do in a real James Paxton trade.
Now adding Fried and Wright to the mix, along with Salazar, we have eight pitchers on the 40-man roster who all could realistically start for us. So, we should be good now, right? We’re done, yeah? Noooooooooooope.