The Los Angeles Angels have acquired veteran pitcher Jim Johnson and $1.21 million in international spending money from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor league pitcher Justin Kelly, per a press release posted on twitter by the Braves.
Johnson, 34, will help bulk up the Angels' bullpen as they look to be contenders next season. Johnson has played the closer role in the past, and will likely be a late-inning reliever for the Halos. The righty has shown that he has a consistent fastball, which hits 93-95 mph on the radar gun.
Johnson had a tough year in his first season of a two-year, $10 million deal. He struggled with a 5.56 ERA in 61 relief appearances. Since joining the Braves in 2015, the veteran had a 3.67 ERA and 51 saves in 175 games. Johnson has not been able to pitch like his glory days with the Baltimore Orioles, when he was the American League saves leader twice.
In exchange for Johnson, the Braves will receive 2016 first-rounder, Justin Kelly. Kelly, 24, pitched in five levels within the Angels' organization last season. In 63 2/3 innings, Kelly had a 6-4 record with a 3.53 ERA, in 25 games.
The Angels will likely use the international spending money they will receive to pursue Japenese pitcher-outfielder Shohei Ohtani.
When people think of major league baseball, they think of Mike Trout's electricity, Bryce Harper's hair flowing around the bases, and Clayton Kershaw's mouth-dropping curve. In a matter of time, Atlanta Braves' top prospect Ronald Acuna will be added to the list.
Entering the 2017 season, many people in the baseball world were unfamiliar with the name Ronald Acuna. Five months later, Acuna is a superstar in the making and the Braves feel like they have the winning one-billion dollar lottery ticket.
The 19-year-old phenom from Venezuela was a star throughout three minor league levels this past season. Over the season, Acuna kept on getting better and better and he matured as a hitter. The outfielder's numbers during his short AA stint are way better than his even shorter A+ stint and his AAA numbers are even better than his AA stint.
During his full season in the minor leagues playing for the High A Florida Fire Frogs, the AA Mississippi Braves, and the AAA Gwinnett Braves, Acuna took the minor league player of the year award and ran with it. The outfielder collected just 181 hits, including 60 extra base hits, of which were 21 home runs in 557 at-bats. He stole 44 bases and had an impressive batting line of .325/.374/522. Did I mention that he is just 19-years-old?
Acuna developed patience at the plate during his rise to stardom this season. Throughout the three levels he played in the minor leagues this year, his walk rate rose and his strikeout rate dropped.
From A+ to AA, he struck out less and walked more often, and in AAA, he struck out less but his walk rate slightly dropped. AA pitchers tend to have less control and less pitching demand than AAA pitchers, but overall this shows Acuna's tremendous improvement at the plate though out the season.
Many expect Acuna to be on the Braves' major league roster sometime next summer. The Braves are reportedly likely to attempt to trade outfielders Nick Markakis and Matt Kemp this offseason to open up an outfield position for Acuna.
Acuna is an early 2018 Rookie of the Year candidate. Acuna's powerful bat and dashing speed will help the Braves reach the postseason for years to come.
The Atlanta Braves have extended catcher Kurt Suzuki through the 2018 season. The deal is worth $3.5 million. MLB.com's Mark Bowman was first to report the deal.
Suzuki served as a part-time catcher this season, alongside Tyler Flowers. Suzuki served as a veteran presence this year in Atlanta. The Braves were fond of Suzuki's first year with the team. Suzuki will earn $2 million more next season.
Suzuki, 33, put together an excellent campaign at the plate in 255 at-bats. He slugged a slash line of .271/.343/.525 with 18 round-trippers and 47 RBIs.
Suzuki has collected a 2.2 WAR this season, which is the highest since his all-star season in 2010 with the Minesota Twins.
Los Angeles Angels are set to acquire second baseman Brandon Phillips from the Atlanta Braves per John Heyman of fan rag sports.
The Angels have been very active today on the August waiver trade deadline as they acquired outfielder Justin Upton from the Detroit Tigers this afternoon. The Angels sit 69 - 65 entering today and they are one and a half games behind the Minnesota Twins for a wild-card spot.
Phillips is set to become a free agent after the season. The Angels now have a dynamic duo up the middle of their infield wih Andrelton Simmons at shortstop and Phillips at second base.
Phillips, 36, is batting .291 this season with 11 homeruns and 52 RBIs. Phillips has stayed healthy the season and it's played in 120 games for the Atlanta Braves.
He was acquired this off-season after being traded from the Cincinnati Reds. Phillips waived his no trade clause to join the Los Angeles Angels.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have re-acquired utility man Sean Rodriguez from the Atlanta Braves for minor league catcher Connor Joe, per Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
Rodriguez to the Pirates is the first move of the August waiver trade season. The Pirates enter play this evening with a record of 53-56 and sit 4 1/2 games behind the Cubs for possession of the NL Central division. The Pirates plan to utilize Rodriguez in multiple ways. He can play all four infield positions and all three outfield positions.
Rodriguez, 32, has played only a month in a Braves uniform. He was expected to miss the whole season but came back earlier than expected after he was involved in a car accident in January. He needed surgery to repair his badly injured left shoulder, as a result of the car accident.
Rodriguez has appeared in only 15 games this season. He has two home runs and 3 RBIs in 37 at-bats, with a batting average of .162. Rodriguez will rejoin his former team where he spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Rodriguez is signed through the 2018 season. He agreed to a two-year, $11.5 million this past offseason with the Braves.
The Minnesota Twins have acquired left-hander Jaime Garcia and catcher Anthony Recker from the Atlanta Braves. In return the Braves will receive minor league pitcher Huascar Ynoa.
The Twins were originally supposed to acquire Garcia last week but due to medical concerns with Nick Burdi, who the Braves were scheduled to acquire, the trade fell apart. Burdi, who is one of the Twins' top prospects, had Tommy John surgery in May.
Garcia, 31, joined the Braves in the offseason, after the St. Louis Cardinals dealt him to Atlanta. The southpaw will most likely be a rental for the Twins, as he is set to be a free agent after the season. Garcia owns a 4.30 ERA this season in 18 starts.
The Twins could use Garcia in their rotation. They are 49-48 at the moment and sit a game out of a wildcard spot. They also are 2.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians for the lead in the American League Central division.
The Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves have agreed to a trade. The deal involves infielder Danny Santana being sent to Atlanta and left handed reliever Kevin Chapman will join the Twins' bullpen. The Braves will also send cash considerations to the Twins, according to an announcement on the Braves' twitter page.
Santana, 26, is a career .266 hitter. He owns 76 RBIs and has proven he can run, stealing 41 bases over his four career seasons in the big leagues. Santana is also considered to be a versatile fielder, as he has played at all three outfield positions, as well as third base, shortstop, and second base. When he broke into the big leagues in 2014, he impressed with a solid stat line of .319/.353/.472 and also earned some consideration for the American League Rookie of the Year award.
Chapman, 29, has not played up to his expectations this season in AAA. He has struggled, pitching with an ERA of 7.71 in 11.2 innings out of the bullpen. In his four career big league seasons, he owns an ERA of 4.09 with 48 strikeouts in 55 innings pitched.
Santana is reportedly joining Atlanta's bench, while Chapman is expected to join Triple-A Rochester
According to Yahoo's Jeff Passan, the left-handed ace of the Chicago White Sox, Jose Quintana, is drawing trade interest from multiple teams. The teams who are interested in Quintana are the Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, and Pittsburgh Pirates
Quintana was a hot commodity over the past offseason. With a weak free agent pitching class, the White Sox received phone calls from tons of teams about Quintana and former teammate Chris Sale, whom they traded to the Red Sox during the winter meetings.
Jim Bowden of ESPN reported this morning a trade could happen before opening day, but nothing is close. Bowden also reported that if the Astros were to acquire the young southpaw, the blockbuster deal would have to include top prospects RHP Francis Martes and OF Kyle Tucker.
A deal involving Quintana is a smart move for the three teams reportedly interested in him. Quintana is under team control until after the 2020 season. He is owed $37.85 million until he is eligible to become a free agent. Even though he is owed $37.85 million over the next four seasons, any team that were to pick him up after the 2020 season, will probably need to pay him over $25 million.
Quintana is still very young, entering his age 28 season. He was dominant last season, with an ERA of 3.20 and striking out 181. His great 2016 campaign led him to finish 10th in the American League CY young voting.