It was on and then off and then back on again and now it’s official: The Braves have traded Alberto Callaspo, Eric Stults, Ian Thomas and Juan Jaime to the Dodgers in exchange for Juan Uribe and Chris Withrow.
You know Uribe and Callaspo: basically an exchange of veteran infielders who have seen better days, with Uribe costing the Braves about $3.5 million more than Callaspo will cost the Dodgers. In Chris Withrow, the Braves get a potential high-upside reliever, but one who is recovering from Tommy John surgery and back surgery so, um, yeah. He may pitch in the minors this year but is more of a next-year kind of thing.
As for the Dodgers, they get Stults, who broke in with Los Angeles in 2006, actually. He’s been mostly unimpressive the past three years, but can be a rotation fill-in for a Dodgers team that is down a couple of starters and has a lot of familiarity with the NL West due to his time in San Diego.
Thomas is a marginal reliever — meaning that he was on the margins of the Braves’ bullpen plans, not that he sucks or anything — who has had good strikeout rates in seven minor league seasons.
My favorite part of this is Juan Jaime. Not because he’s all that special — he’s been unimpressive in short stints in the bigs and seems to profile more like organizational depth — but because he was originally signed by the Expos back in 2004. And he’s only 27. It’s weird that a 27-year-old could have ties to the Expos, but he was an international signee and they sign young. Also, 2004 only seems like ancient history.
So, at the end of the day, not too much of significance. For Atlanta, a third baseman who can share time with or maybe supplant Chris Johnson and provide some good mojo and defense in Juan Uribe and an upside arm for the pen in 2016. Roster/infield flexibility for the Dodgers, now that Uribe is gone (my guess is that the Dodgers DFA Callaspo at some point) and some pitching depth the Braves probably weren’t going to use all that much anyway.
If you insist on declaring a winner or loser to every trade I suppose it’s fair to say the Braves are better as a result of the trade than the Dodgers are, especially if you value the well-liked and well-respected Uribe’s perceived leadership and character bonuses. But really, this is a trade in which two teams needed different things and got them, not a case where a winner or a loser is either clear-cut or really all that relevant.