The Braves have struck a deal yet again to earn more international slot money. The Braves traded RHP Aaron Kurcz to the A’s in exchange for Bonus Pool Slot No. 113, which is worth around $167,000. Kurcz is no stranger to being traded, as he was traded in the highly publicized Theo Esptein trade between the Cubs and Red Sox, and the Sox sent him here for Anthony Varvaro this offseason. I think Kurcz has the potential to be a really solid reliever in the big league, with an MLB ETA as soon as this season. Kurcz’s problem: his control. Though he has a nice ERA and gets a ton of strikeouts, the righty has averaged 5.7 BB/9 this year for Gwinnett. His walks have increased in every minor league stop he’s had.
Kurcz marks the 5th Braves farmhand to be dealt in the past week in order to acquire international slot money. Why? To bring on board prospects that John Hart believes have higher upside while ensuring that the Braves do not go over their cap, resulting in penalties that would void them from spending big internationally in 2016. In a way, you can think of the trade as the Braves trading for Juan Morales, a 16-year old prospect from Venezuela. The money the Braves received ensures that Morales will be signed by the Braves. Many have questioned John Hart’s vision due to his focus being on pitching prospects with a lesser emphasis on hitting. However, all three of his international signings were positional players. Perhaps John Hart plans on having his hitters shipped in internationally.
Kurcz may end up being a nice addition for the A’s, who actually have a bullpen that ranks worse than the Braves’.