All was quiet on the trade front for about a month. Then all of a sudden we got a bombshell dropped in our collective laps, and it exploded all over Twitter leaving many in Braves Country shocked and confused. Mallex Smith and Shae Simmons, two names we'd actually seen at the MLB level have been traded to Seattle for (you guessed it) more pitching prospects.
I'll come at this from the angle of the fan first. This pisses me off. I liked Mallex a lot, with his hitting, his speed, and his defensive ability in the outfield. I love speed because it never slumps as the old saying goes. It's a part of the game that's become almost an afterthought in the powerball era, and now that steroids are mostly gone from the game and the HR numbers have plummeted I think it's high time that speed and base stealing make a resurgence. Yet, we traded away one of my favorite prospect-come-MLB reserve players because Coppy wanted more arms. How many pitchers is enough Coppy? WILL YOUR PITCHING LUST EVER BE SLAKED YOU MONSTER!
OK, so that's me as the fan. Now I take off that hat and my angry scowl and put on my analyst hat. Let's be honest about Mallex after they signed Ender Inciarte to a multi-year contract. Mallex was a replaceable/tradable piece. And since nobody is safe, he got packaged with Shae who is coming off Tommy John. Mallex was blocked at the MLB level by multi-year deals with Kemp, Markakis, Sean Rodriguez, and Ender. Shae was a big question mark that never really panned out yet at the MLB level.
In return Seattle gave up their pitcher prospects Luis Gohara and Thomas Burrows. Luis Gohara is a 6'3" 20 year old lefty born in Brazil, and he's been pitching in the Seattle organization since he was 16 years old. In that time he's mostly tooled around rookie and A-ball, amassing an ERA around 4.40 in 48 starts. His WHIP is also way too high at 1.512 because he's giving up tons of hits, well over a hit an inning. My feeling on the move is that the Braves see him as strikeout artist and love the fact his a lefty, so they will try to train him up in our organization. However, since he's a 20 year old in A-Ball we're unlikely to ever see the kid until 2019 at a minimum. Great.
Thomas Burrows is a lefty reliever that pitched at the University of Alabama until getting drafted last year in the 4th round. He's spent some time at A-Ball getting almost 20 games of practice and a respectable 2.55 ERA during that time. I like the fact he's got a good fastball supposedly with a slider, but he will apparently have to work on some other pitches to round out his ability at the MLB level if he wants to start. Otherwise, with two pitches you get put into the closer role at best. However, given his size at 6'1" 225 pounds, he's a big boy who can likely push some big power.
Overall, unless Mallex turns out to be a world-beater CF long term, the deal isn't a bad one. Because the Braves gave away a blocked player and a reliever they don't really use for a possible front line starter and a nice relief piece to step in as closer. Still, it's magic beans. These things may never develop on either end, and we may never know if this trade sucks or works until 2023. So gird your loins Braves fans, the rebuild is far from over.