The last 36 hours have been crazy for the Braves Front Office, but John Hart has worked his magic once again. Alberto Callaspo was pulled from yesterday’s lineup as he was informed that he was in the process of being dealt. However, Callaspo opted to stay with the Braves, as he had until June 15th to deny any trade. However, the infielder must have had a late change of heart, as he was a late scratch once again for Tuesday night’s game. The two teams have finally agreed on a deal that sends Juan Uribe and Chris Withrow to the Braves and Callaspo, Eric Stults, Juan Jaime, and Ian Thomas to the Dodgers.
I really don’t understand why L.A. made this move, and it looks really good for Atlanta. Braves fans probably remember Uribe from his walkoff home run in the 2013 NLDS. Uribe, 36, has had a bit of a down year this season, hitting .247 with just 1 home run and 6 RBI while battling groin injuries. However, he had a solid campaign last season in which he hit .311. he also brings incredible defense to the hot corner. It’s unclear if Uribe comes in as a bench bat, part of a platoon, or if this could be the beginning of the Braves trying to rid of Chris Johnson’s contract. He’s in the final year of his contract, in which he is making $6.5 million. Many may scoff at bringing in Uribe but he is a solid bat that we gave up little to nothing for. Chris Withrow is a former top prospect and first round pick of the Dodgers. Prior to the 2010 season, Baseball America ranked him their 48th best prospect. Withrow spent most of his time in the Dodgers farm system as a starter, but was converted into a full time reliever during the 2013 season. This is the same year he finally made his major league debut. The right-hander has been solid out of the bullpen for LA when healthy. He owns a 2.73 career ERA in 46 appearances. He did start to have some issues with walks in 2014 however, and underwent Tommy John Surgery around this time last season. Withrow is expected to return in the second half and he could be a huge boost to a struggling bullpen. He throws a fastball and a slider. If Roger McDowell can help this kid with his control, he could be one of the most dynamic members of our bullpen, as evidenced by his career 11.4 K/9. Possibly even an eventual closer.
What did the Braves give up? Nothing of value honestly. They give up Alberto Callaspo, who has simply just not panned out the way the Braves planned. He showed up to Spring Training overweight, and has really struggled at the plate. He saw an increased role as Chris Johnson, Kelly Johnson and Phil Gosselin hit the DL, but did not capitalize on it, as evidenced by his .137 average in May. Eric Stults hasn’t exactly had the hot hand either. He was recently pulled from the rotation in favor of Williams Perez and has compiled a 5.85 ERA this season. Perhaps the Dodgers asked he be thrown in due to his NL West experience. In Juan Jaime and Ian Thomas, the Dodgers get two relievers that are AAAA players. Jaime started the year in Atlanta, but has been demoted to Gwinnett, and most recently, Mississippi. He throws with a ton of velocity but just simply has no control. Ian Thomas has some potential as a lefty specialist, but has failed to establish a role in Atlanta’s bullpen after multiple callups the past couple seasons. The Braves don’t give up anything here, and get rid of some guys that were really struggling. This is a great trade for Atlanta, as they acquire two players who can contribute to this team and help them compete.