The Atlanta Braves have worked yet another deal that will send prospects to Atlanta.
The Atlanta Braves have traded Shae Simmons and outfielder Mallex Smith to the Mariners in exchange for lefties Luiz Gohara and Thomas Burrows. The swap is another move that the Braves have made their living from over the past two years by swapping average major league talent for a prospect or two.
Gohara is the more heralded of the two lefties from the Mariners though, he hasn’t pitched above A level ball. He worked with a 1.81 ERA over 69 2/3 minor league frames in 2016, with 10.5 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9. MLB.com rated him Seattle’s fifth-best prospect, while Baseball America placed him third among the organization’s Minor Leaguers. Gohara is a legitimately good pitching prospect that the Braves got in exchange for two players that were taking room up on the roster but did not factor into the Braves’ long term plans.
With three outfielders locked up to decently long commitments and Dustin Peterson’s stock on the rise in the minor leagues this move makes sense for a Braves team that is constantly focused on their future and not just on making their current team better. In this case however, it will give the Braves the ability to do both with Mallex Smith moving on to the Mariners the Braves can focus on acquiring a legitimate 4th outfielder instead of counting on Smith in 2017.
Mallex Smith was a fun and exciting young player but one who often had bad instincts in the outfield and struggled to hit consistently with a high strikeout rate. The move is one that makes the Braves’ minor league system better and gives the Braves a chance to improve their Major League roster as well.
Shae Simmons was once a promising set-up man who was thought to be ready to step in as a closer if needed. The Braves took advantage of those days by trading the recovering reliever while he still has value on the trade market. While Simmons will hopefully bounce back to form it is unknown what he is capable of at this point of his career and the Braves bullpen will have plenty of arms competing for spots this spring.
Overall the move was a good one that has improved the Braves’ farm system yet again and freed up roster spots from two guys that the Braves were less than likely to be counting on this season. What will be interesting to watch is if this move was a pre-cursor to one that will improve the Braves’ Major League team in 2017.