This trade is looking much better for the Braves

cfm23040901208 padres at braves

A few months ago, Atlanta’s offseason trade for reliever Joe Jiménez looked disastrous. The lumbering lefty was coming off back surgery, causing the early returns on the deal to look diminished.

Jiménez’s velocity on all of his pitches took a significant dip, and opponents were having no problem teeing off. In his first 16 appearances with the Braves, he posted a 4.86 ERA with a 4.84 FIP, and Brian Snitker understandably wasn’t eager to toss him in high leverage situations. From May 29th to June 8th, Jiménez didn’t even appear in a game, but perhaps that rest is exactly what he needed to get back on track.

Since that time off, Jiménez has appeared 18 times and allowed just two earned runs. His ERA over that span sits at 0.93 to go along with a 1.68 FIP while striking out 23 over 19.1 innings. It’s also no coincidence that his velocity began to reach his 2022 levels around this time. After sitting around 94 with his heater in the first two months of the season, Jiménez has been closer to 96 in June and July, with his slider going from 82 at the beginning of the year all the way up to 85 this month.

Justyn-Henry Malloy, the player the Braves sent to the Tigers for Jiménez, has come as advertised for his new organization. He’s hitting .283 in AAA and has started to hit for a lot more power, blasting 16 homers this season in just 90 games. I wasn’t thrilled with parting ways with him for a reliever, and I’m not sure this will turn out to be a trade the Braves love down the road, but this move is at least beginning to look palatable as we embark on the final two months of the regular season.

Joe Jiménez is proving to be an option in high-leverage, late inning situations. Brian Snitker is beginning to trust him, and he’s earned that right with his performance of late. The Braves are in win-now mode, and without Jiménez, this bullpen wouldn’t look nearly as stout as the postseason approaches.

Photographer: John Adams/Icon Sportswire


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