The extraordinarily odd, 13-player Dodgers-Marlins-Braves trade is done

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It took a day and change to make it happen, but Mat Latos is finally going to Los Angeles. And a heck of a lot of other players are moving around too as that Dodgers-Marlins-Braves trade is finally done, per Ken Rosenthal. The deal, which has changed some since last night:

  • To the Dodgers: Starter Mat Latos and first baseman Michael Morse from the Marlins and starter Alex Wood, relievers Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan, and infield prospect Jose Peraza from the Braves. Also from the Braves: Bronson Arroyo, who likely wasn’t going to pitch at all this year anyway and appears to be a financial move for Atlanta more than anything;
  • To the Braves: Infielder Hector Olivera, left-handed reliever Paco Rodriguez, and minor league pitcher Zachary Bird from the Dodgers and Miami’s 2016 Competitive Balance Draft pick (34th overall); and
  • To the Marlins: Minor league pitchers  Kevin Guzman, Jeff Brigham and Victor Araujo as well as cash.

For the Dodgers, the moves are obvious: bolstering the starting pitching, with both Latos and Wood presumably moving into the rotation and Johnson and Avilan moving in to bolster the bullpen. Peraza is an interesting piece who will likely go to Oklahoma City. I have no idea what they plan to do with Michael Morse.

The Marlins save cash and get kids. That’s generally the reason for any Marlins move.

The Braves? Man, I dunno. Olivera is an intriguing piece who has been raking at Triple-A. But he’s 30, so it’s not like he’s the sort of guy who will anchor their infield for years and years. Obviously Alex Wood and any other pitcher is an injury risk and the Braves have other infield prospects apart from Peraza, but that seems an awful lot to give up for, basically, one guy, a draft pick, a couple of random arms and some financial relief. On the bright side, taking on a 30-year-old centerpiece suggests that the Braves believe they will be competitive relatively soon.

Also: how about the Braves losing Arroyo? Which means that they picked up Touki Toussaint from the Diamondbacks for virtually nothing. That’s not too shabby.

There David Price, Cole Hamels and Johnny Cueto deals were bigger in star power, but there likely will be no bigger deal in sheer mass than this one at the 2015 deadline.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.