Atlanta Braves Acquire Jaime Garcia


Atlanta Braves Acquire Jaime Garcia

The Atlanta Braves didn’t have a single start from a left-handed pitcher in 2016. Not one.

General Manager John Coppolella made sure to change that heading into 2017.

The Braves have acquired Jaime Garcia from the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals received three prospects: right-handed pitchers John Gant and Chris Ellis and infielder Luke Dykstra.

Braves Continue to Add Veteran Pitching

Trading for Garcia continues toward the Braves plan this off-season. Atlanta wanted to add veteran starting pitchers that make the team competitive for 2017, but on short deals that didn’t block the slew of young pitching prospects they have in the wings.

Garcia is in the last year of a six-year, $50 million deal he signed with St. Louis in 2012. With Garcia, Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey, the Braves have added $32 million in payroll for 2017 with none of that money towards 2018.

Garcia had an outstanding 2015 season, going 10-6 with a 2.43 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 20 starts. His production regressed some in 2016, but he has consistently produced a mid-3.00 ERA in seven seasons, and is a valuable, mid-rotation starter for Atlanta.

St. Louis Receives Three Prospects

The prospects St. Louis received include two young starters that are close to MLB ready, and a young infield prospect with a famous last name.

John Gant made 11 starts for Atlanta in 2016, going 1-4 with a 4.86 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched. Gant could compete for the fifth sport in the Cardinals rotation, however he is better suited for 2017 in the long reliever, spot-starter role.

The Braves acquired Chris Ellis in the Andrelton Simmons trade in November 2015. Ellis was phenomenal in Double-A Mississippi, winning eight games with a 1.13 WHIP in 78.2 innings. When called up to Triple-A Gwinnett, his performance faltered, giving up 52 walks in 67.2 innings. Control is the main issue with Ellis, however his fastball and change-up are plus, and he has the upside to make his MLB debut sometime in 2017.

Luke Dykstra was drafted in the seventh round of the 2014 draft by Atlanta, and his career minor league numbers are admirable. He’s a career .300 hitter in three minor league seasons, and crept in the Braves Top-30 prospect list in 2016, according to MLB Pipeline. Dykstra, so far in his career, is known more for his lineage that his play.

Overall, the Braves added another short-term, mid-rotation veteran starter for three prospects that weren’t factoring into the future in Atlanta. St. Louis added two MLB-ready starting pitching prospects and a young infield prospect that has hit all throughout the minors.

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