It’s been made clear that the Braves will be shopping veteran players at the deadline, and it appears they are parting with two vets that have helped carry the team this season. Reports indicate that Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe have been traded to the division rival Mets.
This move serves as proof that the Braves’ number one priority is not competing in 2015. This is a deal that will help the Mets’ horrific offense, and the Braves continue to stock the farm with pitching.
Kelly Johnson was signed to a minor league pact this offseason, and has been a pleasant surprise in his homecoming with Atlanta. He has hit .275 with 9 homers and 34 RBI. His versatility will also allow the Mets to utilize him around the diamond.
The Braves acquired Juan Uribe in June in the deal that sent Alberto Callaspo to the Dodgers. He has hit .285 since arriving in Atlanta and has been quick to become a fan favorite. However, the Braves do have a capable starter at the hot corner in Chris Johnson, despite the team making it known around the league that they wish to move him.
One of the names the Braves are reportedly getting in return is John Gant, a 22-year old righty who is currently in AA. He’s not blowing anybody away in the Mets’ farm system, and is far from a highly touted prospect. 21-year old Rob Whalen heads to Atlanta as well. Whalen has enjoyed a decent year starting in A+ ball. His statistics the past couple seasons, however, have been dynamite. He is the big piece in this trade for Atlanta.
This trade is all about acquiring some young talent for guys that are only under contract in the short term. The Braves have made it known that they will be sellers at the deadline. It would be nice to see John Hart trade for some bats, but he is sticking to his plan of stockpiling pitchers.
It’s hard to see two guys who have helped the team mightily go, but I think Whalen in particular could be a nice long-term asset. Only time can tell, but if he ends up being a decent MLB starter, giving away a couple of expiring contracts for him could be steal. This deal makes sense for both teams. The Mets need cheap cats, and the Braves want young pitching.
This offense, however, is going to be tough to watch…