— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) July 29, 2018
Atlanta has agreed to send $250K in international slot money to Baltimore in the deal. To make room for Brach on the 40-man roster, the Braves transferred right-hander Brandon McCarthy to the 60-day disabled list.
Atlanta Braves Acquire Brad Brach from the Baltimore Orioles
It is widely known that the Braves have been looking for bullpen help via trade for the rest of 2018. Atlanta’s bullpen has muddled through injuries and inconsistency all season long. With that said, Atlanta General Manager Alex Anthopoulos stated that even though help was needed, they would not deal any worthwhile prospects to acquire rental relievers. That is where the international slot money comes into play.
Atlanta’s need to stash international cash evaporated after the sanctions placed by Major League Baseball for infractions in 2017. The Braves can spend no more than $10,000 on a player during the 2019-20 period and will have their pool money cut in half for the 2020-21 period.
So, instead of dealing prospects for rental relievers, Anthopoulos is dealing international cash that Atlanta won’t use. The Braves made the same deal to Tampa Bay earlier this week for left-handed reliever Jonny Venters. Even though Brach and Venters are not high-leverage arms, they do add depth to a weak Braves bullpen. Plus, the cost required to bring them to Atlanta has no bearing on the future of the franchise.
What to Expect from Brad Brach
Brach is having a decent 2018 season, producing a 4.01 FIP (4.36 xFIP) in 39 innings pitched. He ranks in the middle of most AL reliever categories, ranking slightly above-average with a 46.5 GB% and 10.0 HR/FB%. Brach does most of his damage against right-handed hitters, sporting a 3.94 xFIP with a 25.7 K%, both above league average.
Again, if Atlanta Braves were looking for just one dominant arm to solidify their weak bullpen, Brach is not that. However, he was one of the most dominant relievers in the American League from 2014-16 and is pitching in his walk year. Maybe pitching in meaningful games for the first time this season—and not having to face treacherous AL East offenses—will spark a return of dominance for Brach. Either way, the Braves added bullpen depth in 2018 for a minimal cost. Also, don’t expect Atlanta’s search for arms to end before August 1.
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