Late last night, the Braves completed another trade, sending star pitcher Kyle Wright to the Royals in exchange for right-handed pitcher Jackson Kowar.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) November 18, 2023
This one shocked me. It’s a swap of former first-round picks, but Kowar has been dismal in the majors, recording a 9.12 ERA over 39 appearances. Perhaps the Braves feel there’s something here worth salvaging, but it almost seems like the Braves considered Kyle Wright to be a non-tender candidate and just wanted to get something in return.
Kyle Wright was scheduled to miss the entire 2024 season with a shoulder injury, but he was only projected to earn $1.4 million in arbitration and is under contract through 2026. For a pitcher that recorded a 21-5 record with a 3.19 ERA, finishing top 10 in the NL Cy Young race, it seems like the Braves should have had no problem him paying him just over a million dollars in hopes he could recover and become a big part of the rotation again in 2025 and beyond.
I don’t see the point of this move. Perhaps Wright’s injury is much worse than being led on, and the Braves feel like he’ll never be the same pitcher again. Maybe they see something in Kowar that us normal folks aren’t capable of understanding. Clearly, Alex Anthopoulos has been aggressive in shedding salary as free agency begins to heat up. Maybe he has to in order to land a top free agent, but I’m not sure $1 million extra dollars is really going to be the difference in the Braves landing someone like Aaron Nola or Sonny Gray this winter.
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