A sleeper trade candidate the Braves should pursue


Many have been clamoring for the San Francisco Giants to spark a rebuild. After a great run of World Series championships, the team was staring down the barrel of a 73-89 record in 2018.

Now, for the most part, the Giants have stood pat this offseason. It may be a bit late to initiate a full-blown rebuild with it already being the new year; however, with Madison Bumgarner approaching his last year under contract with the team, it is more likely than not pieces start to move.

Eno Sarris of the Athletic went through a step-by-step guide on what deals the Giants should make to successfully rebuild.  Interesting enough, one of the packages on there was trading Bumgarner for Braves prospect Bryse Wilson. While appealing, that was not what stuck out to me in the article. It is that he suggested dealing rookie sensation, Dereck Rodriguez. If he becomes available, the Braves should be all over that.

Dereck is the son of baseball legend Ivan Rodriguez. He was originally an outfielder in the Twins system before being converted to a pitcher. He signed a minor league contract with the Giants and went on to be one of the best pitchers in the National League last year.

For obvious reasons, one may find this flukey. After all, Sarris points out that Rodriguez is already 26 due to his change of positions and throws with low velocity. He was not considered a prospect on his rise to the majors. If the Giants feel they are selling high for a rebuild, they may opt to move him.

But as they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Rodriguez would be under contract through 2025, and his rookie season was nothing short of sensational. He held hitters to a ridiculous 2.9% barrel rate in 2018 en route to a 2.81 ERA in 21 appearances (19 starts). On top of that, his peripheral stats in the minors suggest there is more room for strikeouts going forward.

Many expect regression from Rodriguez, and that is likely built into his trade value if he is even made available. However, this could be an opportunity for the Braves to double down on a guy who is still learning the ropes of pitching. If Rodriguez can continue to improve his secondary pitches in his five-pitch mix, particularly his slider and sinker, he has the chance to be a stud like his dad.

Rodriguez only had three appearances where he gave up more than 3 earned runs, and unfortunately, two forgettable ones to end the season inflated his ERA. But for over three months, he was one of the best in baseball.

The Braves have a lot of young starting pitching options and may stand pat, but if they look to boost the rotation immediately, Rodriguez could be an option that the team could control for a long time.

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