The Atlanta Braves continued to add veteran starting pitchers this offseason as they acquired Jaime Garcia in a trade with the Cardinals on Thursday. Atlanta will send RHP John Gant, RHP Chris Ellis, and 2B Luke Dykstra to the Cardinals.
This trade makes the Atlanta Braves rotation look very good especially compared to last year as they have 5 quality starting pitchers. Jaime Garcia didn’t have a very good season in 2016 with the Cardinals as he went 10-13 with a 4.67 ERA. However, Garcia has had a lot of success in the MLB as he is 62-45 overall with a 3.57 career ERA. There is no doubt that Garcia will improve the Braves rotation, but the question is if he will stay healthy. From 2013-2015 he only started a combined 36 games, so Atlanta relying on him to stay healthy is definitely risky. The Braves didn’t get rid of any top tier prospects in this trade, but for a Braves team trying to rebuild then it probably isn’t the best idea to get rid of even decent prospects. Garcia doesn’t make the Braves contenders, yet it does make Atlanta at least a respectable team as they enter their new ballpark for the 2017 season. Overall, this trade could be good if Garcia can prove that he can stay healthy, but that probably won’t happen. Garcia is a proven MLB pitcher, so we know that he can improve the Braves rotation just if he stays healthy. I’m not quite sure why the Braves gave up some prospects with some potential and this trade is just average for Atlanta until Garcia proves that he can stay healthy consistently.
I really like this trade for the Cardinals as they have enough pitching depth right now that they can afford to trade away an unreliable pitcher in Jaime Garcia. He just couldn’t stay healthy with the Cardinals and it’s best for St. Louis to give an opportunity to young pitcher Alex Reyes. Meanwhile, the return for Garcia didn’t provide a top tier prospect, but they did receive 3 prospects with some decent potential. John Gant is a 24-year old right-handed pitcher that adds some depth to the Cardinals pitching staff. He is clearly the most MLB-ready player that St. Louis received in this deal, but he struggled with a 4.86 ERA in 20 games last season for Atlanta. Gant came up as a starting pitcher in the minor leagues, although he probably fits best in a long relief role in the Cardinals bullpen. However, he did have some control issues and he could end up starting next season in Triple-A in order to fix that. Chris Ellis is the player with the most potential in this trade for the Cardinals and he put up a solid 2.75 ERA in double-A last season. However, he had an awful 6.52 ERA in 15 starts at the Triple-A level. Ellis will certainly start next year in Triple-A until he can improve those stats enough to make it to the MLB. However, Ellis has decent potential and he could be a decent 5th starter in the Cardinals rotation at some point if he continues to develop. Luke Dykstra is more of a project to see what the Cardinals get out of him. He is only 21 years old, but he is still in Class A which shows that it will be awhile if he is ever an MLB player. Dykstra is a consistent hitter as he has a .300 career average in 3 seasons in the minor leagues and he has shown that he can drive in some runs as he had 41 RBI’s last season. However, the downside to Dykstra is that he is a terrible fielder as a 2nd baseman and he only has 2 home runs in 183 career minor league games. The batting average is intriguing, but he won’t make it far unless he can develop some power in his bat and become a better defender. Overall, the Cardinals made the right move by trading away Garcia, although the prospects they got in return might not ever turn out to be very good.