This trade could go down as a win-win for Braves and Tigers

Anthopoulos MLB Trade Deadline

The Braves traded a slew of top prospects a couple of offseasons ago. The blockbuster deal brought All-Star catcher Sean Murphy to Atlanta, but the Braves also dealt arguably the best prospect in their entire system for relief pitcher Joe Jimenez.

Admittedly, I was not a fan of the trade when it went down. While Jimenez’s peripherals suggested he had plenty of upside. He was only under contract for one more season and coming off a back injury that was still healing at the time of the deal. But more importantly, the prospect the Braves traded — Justyn-Henry Malloy — had the potential to be the left fielder of the future in Atlanta.

Malloy has yet to make his MLB debut for the Tigers, but it could come any day now. He has continued to tear the cover off the ball ever since switching organizations, recording 23 homers with an .892 OPS for AAA Toledo last year. The Tigers have to be thrilled with the trade thus far, and for a while, the Braves might have had some regrets, but that’s changed over the last 10 months or so.

Jimenez was still clearly dealing with some lingering effects of the injury early last year. His velocity was down, leading to erratic results. But around June, he started to find his groove with the Braves, and over the last four months, he pitched to the tune of a 2.37 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 38 innings.

Jimenez pitched so well that the Braves handed him a three-year, $26 million contract this past offseason, and it might turn out to be yet another bargain. He’s been by far the team’s most reliable reliever through the first three weeks, boasting a 1.13 ERA and 1.57 FIP through his first eight appearances, giving the Braves another lights-out setup man from the right side to pair nicely with the left-handed A.J. Minter.

Trades don’t often turn out to be a win-win for both sides, but this very well could be one of those rare cases. The Tigers have to be excited about flipping a reliever while they are rebuilding for a potential starting outfielder, and I don’t believe the Braves are having any second guesses about Joe Jimenez, who looks like he will be a vital piece to their bullpen for several years to come.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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