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the Atlanta Braves 3-way trade deal that didn’t happen

Jeff Passan got the details of a curious trade that didn’t ultimately happen… which left the Braves on the curb while watching other deals parade by.

It’s ESPN’s Jeff Passan (that seems really weird to say after so many seasons with Yahoo Sports) that recited most of the components about a December 3-way deal that might have involved the Atlanta Braves:

There was traction, at one point, on a three-way deal among the Yankees, Rangers and Braves that would have sent Gray to Atlanta, a prospect to Texas and infielder Jurickson Profar to New York. The Rangers wound up shipping Profar to Oakland in another three-way deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.

This phrasing – particularly the word “traction” – suggests strongly that the teams involved may have been interested in the basics, though the devilish details undoubtedly derailed the deal.

So who said ‘no’?

We will take a quick guess, for events since seem to provide a few hints…

  • The Braves?  Atlanta probably liked the deal – maybe the most of all:  the are still looking for a pitcher and Sonny Gray would be a solid option (despite the druthers of many in Braves’ Country).
  • The Rangers?  They did ultimately deal Profar elsewhere, so they were clearly motivated to move him.  But they could have ended up declining this particular trade, for reasons I’ll note in a moment.
  • The Yankees?  This is a 50/50 call.  There’s rumblings that they are shopping Joaquin Anduhar, so Profar might have fit in nicely.  At the time, there was not a lot of chatter (in public) to suggest that they would go after either Troy Tulowitski or Manny Machado, so adding Profar would not have been a bad idea at all.  But it might not have been the best deal for them.

In terms of timing – which is probably important here – my guess is that this discussion may have been happening during the first week of December (probably not extending through Winter Meetings).

Here’s why:

  • Tulowitski was released on December 11th.  The Yankees might have immediately pivoted and decided that their chances to get Tulo on the cheap warranted at least a pause in negotiations.  But if not…
  • The Rangers traded Profar on December 21st.  This was a fairly complex 3-way deal, so it would have likely required a few days to get together on the terms.
  • Shortly before or after the 11th, the deal was probably scuttled at Texas got a much better offer.

Texas received a total of 4 prospects and International bonus pool money… $750,000 worth.  2 of the prospects (Brock Burke and Eli White) now appear on the Ranger’s Top 30 list.  The International money, of course, will probably turn into multiple players as well, so they at least get a fistful of wildcards for Profar… while also saving around $3½ million.

More to Learn

What this failed deal also suggests is the approximate price for Sonny Gray.  The full deal was clearly not given (and, as we have to say in such circumstances, this is rumor and not a set of provable facts).

On the surface, however, this may have effectively been ‘Profar for Gray’.

The Braves didn’t have a major league player of that ilk that they wanted to send to New York (or perhaps they didn’t have one that New York wanted), so an equivalent prospect or two were almost certainly involved… going to Texas.

Since we do know what Texas accepted – kind of a ‘quantity over quality’ deal – we can guess the bounds of what the Braves might have offered.  2 players from this list numbered from 10 (Kolby Allard) to #25 (Jaseel de la Cruz) might have been enough and roughly equivalent to Texas’ haul.

What about now?

The Yankees now have Tulo on their roster, so they have their infield figured out… well, depending on Manny Machado.  My own suspicion is that they’d like to get that settled before doing much else.

They still need more pitching, but with the supply dwindling, they may choose to hold Gray until getting that sorted out.  Once they can get Machado (I gotta believe that will happen), they will know what they have to spend and can decide on another arm.

At that point, they would deal Gray… and Atlanta could certainly jump back in.  The question will be what the Yankees would be willing to accept directly from the Braves.

In public proclamations, they’ve suggested that ‘big league talent’ would be required to obtain Gray… and Profar fit that description, so this adds credibility to the rumor.

Next: Outfield outlier options

We won’t know that unless it happens, of course, but it does certainly sound like the Braves have significant interest in the right-hander.

 

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