I’m hoping to do a little series on the “big” deals of the rebuild. The roster-gutting ones of Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Andrelton Simmons, and Craig Kimbrel/Mudge. The Andrelton one might be the most painful, but trading Craig Kimbrel partly to rid yourself of the Mudge contract was right up there, so I’m going to get this one out of the way first.
First, a quick note. I will not be using Mudge’s name. In fact, as God as my witness, I endeavor to never use his name for the rest of my life. He is Mudge. The man’s a menace, a nuisance to the game. The single-most unlikeable Braves player of recent memory, as far as I’m concerned. His smug attitude towards the umpires as they rang him up for taking a pitch down the pipe would disgust me. In fact, this paraphrased quote by Newman on Seinfeld accurately describes my feelings towards the man:
“You are nothing but a piece of crap. A piece of crap. I find you extremely ugly. You emit a foul and unpleasant odor. I loathe you.”
Sorry, I got a little carried away. At any rate, this was the trade that truly sent them into full tank mode. They traded their All-Star closer, which of course they would not need as they didn’t plan to be contending for a while, and they wanted to clear as much of the remaining $45M or so on Mudge’s deal as they could so they could, I dunno, sign Kevin Maitan and lose him too.
But they couldn’t clear Mudge’s entire contract. Not even Kimbrel could offset that amount of rotting carcass of a contract. So they traded Craig Kimbrel and ole Mudge to the Padres for Jordan Paroubeck, Cameron Maybin ($7M), a portion of Carlos Quentin’s own carcass of a contract ($8M), Matt Wisler, and a 2015 competitive balance round A pick (Austin Riley). So they got rid of about $34M of bad Mudge, and they took back Paroubeck, Matt Wisler, and the pick that led to Austin Riley. I say only $34M because Maybin was really only worth a portion of his contract, and I will show my math in a second.
Paroubeck did nothing, so we’ll skip him. I’m going to say that Maybin was worth maybe around $4M, so I’m going to say that we took back about $3M of Maybin’s dead weight, so that’s how I got to $34M ($45M owed to Mudge minus Quentin’s $8M minus Maybin’s $3M = $34M in savings). So after the salary swaps, it was Kimbrel for Matt Wisler, Austin Riley, and $34M.
We have to acknowledge that we didn’t get the Austin Riley of today, a 21-year old top prospect in AAA knocking at the door of big leagues; even a 1st round competitive balance pick has decent enough likelihood of failure. With that said, you have to give the benefit of the doubt to Coppy that he did draft very well in 2015, so him trading for another crack at that draft was a smart move. This was the same draft that saw him take Kolby Allard, Mike Soroka, Riley, and A.J. Minter in the first five picks.
Matt Wisler had a less than stellar career with Atlanta. He was a top 100 prospect in 2014, so it wasn’t a bad bet to take him back in a deal. And you can make the argument that after only making 34 starts in AAA — only 12 of which were for Atlanta’s AAA team — he wasn’t given the opportunity more recent prospects have been given to develop. But excuses aside, Wisler was replacement level in his 4 seasons in Atlanta. Put him in the camp that justifies the acronym TINSTAAPP.
But they also saved $34M, and that means nothing to you nor I. I know I didn’t get a check. So it can be hard to tie money savings from a particular deal into an end result with which to evaluate. But this trade was different. It was made on April 5th, 2015. They made a trade to take back salary on June 20th — a little over 2 months later — for Bronson Arroyo’s salary, and the player we got along with him was Touki Toussaint. Of course, I’m attempting to make a financial connection here, but this may be one of the few times you actually can. The season had already started, player payroll may have been locked in, etc. etc., so perhaps making the Kimbrel deal allowed them to make the Touki deal.
If you can make that connection, the trade actually looks really good. If you can’t make that connection, then you have to say that we traded Craig Kimbrel for Matt Wisler, a 1st round comp pick, and $34M, and you have to decide what that means to you. I think it was a good trade, all things considered. Oh, other than the fact that we lost an All-Star closer because Mudge mudged his filthy mudging ways all over the mudging field.