As first reported by Ben Nicholson-Smith at Sportsnet, the Blue Jays have traded 25-year-old left-hander Tyler Ybarra to the Rockies in exchange for 22-year-old lefty Jayson Aquino.
Aquino was designated for assignment by the Rockies at the end of January to clear out a 40-man roster spot for newly-acquired right-hander David Hale. Aquino registered an ugly 5.13 ERA and 1.495 WHIP in 18 starts last season between High-A Modesto and Double-A Tulsa, and he’s probably not going to be in the picture for Toronto anytime soon.
Ybarra, a 43rd-round pick of the Blue Jays in 2008, had a rough 4.42 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and 43/30 K/BB ratio in 53 innings last season at Double-A New Hampshire.
These are obviously not major pitching prospects.
The Braves just announced a trade with the Rockies:
Hale, 26, has pitched in 47 major league games, eight as a starter, almost all of that action coming last season. He started last season as the team’s fourth starter and had one great start in late April, but that was it. The righty has a 3.02 ERA and a 44/39 K/BB ratio in 87.1 innings.
Schlosser is also 26. All of his big league experience game last year too, and it wasn’t pretty: a 7.64 ERA in 15 relief appearances with eight strikeouts and six walks in 15 innings. He’s also a righty. One can’t imagine these guys will have much to smile about pitching in Denver. But really, they profile more as organizational depth.
Back to Atlanta from the Rockies goes Briceno and O’Dowd, both catchers. Briceno is only 22. He’s hit well — very well, actually — but hasn’t played above A-ball. O’Dowd is 24 and has hit less well — though he shows some on-base skills — and hasn’t played above Double-A. Oh, and he’s also former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd’s son.
Without reading stuff from people who know the catchers — particularly their defensive chops — better, my gut reaction is that the Braves have unloaded a couple of pitchers they’ve seen enough of and don’t feature in their future plans for a couple of catchers who could maybe turn into something someday. Or at least one of them in Briceno. Which isn’t a bad deal from Atlanta’s perspective. Isn’t bad at all.
Add another name to the list of fifth starter candidates for the Braves. According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Atlanta has signed left-hander Eric Stults to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Stults posted some decent numbers during his time with the Padres, with a 3.87 ERA across 79 starts and four relief appearances while showing good control. However, the 35-year-old had an 88 ERA+ in that timespan and only averaged 5.6 K/9. It’s hard to get too excited about that.
The Braves have a host of other candidates for the fifth starter job, including Manny Banuelos, Michael Foltynewicz, David Hale, Chien-Ming Wang, Wandy Rodriguez, and James Russell. For what it’s worth, Bowman now pegs Stults and Foltynewicz as the early front-runners, with Banuelos likely to get some more time in the minors.
Evan Gattis hasn’t played a full game for the Braves since September 7 because of strep throat and, more recently, a kidney stone. In that time, Atlanta has lost 12-of-14 games and been completely eliminated from postseason contention. But there will be no early shutdown for the 28-year-old slugging catcher.
David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Gattis is scheduled to return to the Braves’ starting lineup for Thursday night’s series finale against the Pirates. Gattis is only expected to play about five innings, serving as the catcher for spot starter David Hale, who’s filling in for Mike Minor.
Minor was officially shut down earlier this week due to inflammation in his left (throwing) shoulder.
Gattis is batting .268/.322/.503 with 22 home runs in 102 games played this season for the Braves. There has been talk of him being traded this winter to open up starting catching duties for Christian Bethancourt.