For the second time this week, Alex Anthopolous has used international bonus money that can not be used by the team due to the offseason punishment handed down by the MLB to acquire bullpen upgrades.
First, it was Braves fan favorite Jonny Venters. This is more than a feel-good story though, as Venters has not been a regular in the MLB since 2012 due to multiple Tommy John surgeries. Venters had to start a game because of the madness that has been the Rays, but as a reliever this season, he sports a 0.59 ERA in 23 appearances. That is lights out production, and the Braves had to give up essentially monopoly money to get him.
Sure, the restrictions on the Braves in the international market may have prevented the future dynasty of all dynasties. It is rather unfortunate that the team is in the situation they are in, but they have the luxury of having the best farm system in and baseball and are trading this money as a silver lining in their punishment.
What a perfect asset for a team that is struggling heading towards the deadline. Giving up future assets could prove to be a huge mistake in the long run.
The newest acquisition is Orioles reliever Brad Brach, a guy the Braves have been linked to in trade talks for seasons now. Brach is having a down year but has been terrific in his time as an 8-year veteran and was an All-Star just two years ago. A change of scenery to a team in the playoff mix could be huge for Brach, who is in a contract year.
Braves fans wanted bullpen help, and now they have gotten some without giving up any prospects. According to Ken Rosenthal, they are not done:
#Braves have acquired two relievers, Brach and Venters, for same price – a $250K int’t signing slot. Surely not done – they have yet to trade a single prospect.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 29, 2018