The Atlanta Braves don’t often undervalue their major-league assets. When they decided to trade Tommy Hanson to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Friday for Jordan Walden, it was a fairly stinging indictment of Hanson’s hopes of turning around a fading career. Meanwhile, the Braves added high-upside right-handed relief depth in Walden. Strangely, they needed it. Beyond Craig Kimbrel, they had only Cristhian Martinez and an array of fringe arms from the starboard side of the bullpen shift.
On top of dealing Hanson, Atlanta non-tendered Jair Jurrjens, an expected move for a marginal starter whose cost would have been far out of whack with his expected 2013 contribution. Jurrjens faced 227 batters last year, struck out only 19 and walked 18. He was not going to be part of the plan in Atlanta; Friday merely made that official.
Still, with both Hanson and Jurrjens gone, the famous Braves pitching depth has thinned somewhat. Brandon Beachy is unavailable until at least mid-season after having Tommy John surgery in June. Julio Teheran is uninjured, but not undamaged, having posted an ERA on the wrong side of 5.00 in Triple-A in 2012 and with many problems, not one glaring (and therefore easily remedied) thing going wrong.
Atlanta would still boast one of the league’s strongest rotations if the season began tomorrow, with Kris Medlen, Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm, Randall Delgado and Mike Minor penciled in. Nonetheless, the move to give up on Hanson and strengthen the bullpen instead was a bold stroke as the team heads into the Winter Meetings.Next post: Mark Reynolds Non-Tendered: Five Good Destinations for Him
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