The Los Angeles Dodgers are conducting a complicated three-team transaction involving the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves. Twelve players are expected to change hands. When the dust settles, it should look like this:
***The Dodgers will receive starting pitcher Mat Latos and first baseman Matt Morse from the Marlins.
***The Dodgers will receive pitchers Alex Wood, Luis Avilan, and Jim Johnson from the Braves.
***The Dodgers will receive shortstop prospect Jose Peraza from the Braves.
***The Braves will receive second baseman Hector Olivera, reliever Paco Rodriguez, and pitching prospect Zachary Bird from the Dodgers.
***The Braves will receive a Competitive Balance Round A (35th overall) pick for the 2016 draft from the Marlins.
***The Marlins will receive pitching prospects Victor Araujo, Jeff Brigham, and Kevin Guzman from the Dodgers.
Got all that?
Here's a summary of the prospects reportedly involved.
Victor Araujo, RHP, Dodgers to Marlins: Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, 22-year-old Araujo is pitching for Rancho Cucamonga on the High-A California League this year, posting a 5.40 ERA in 50 innings of relief work with a 55/14 K/BB and 50 hits allowed. The ERA is a bit misleading as his 4.09 FIP indicates, though that's not a dominant number either. His best pitch is a solid slider but his fastball is generally average at 90-92 MPH. He projects as a middle relief type.
Zachary Bird, RHP, Dodgers to Braves: A ninth round pick from a Mississippi high school in 2012, Bird currently has a 4.75 ERA with a 95/48 K/BB in 89 innings in High-A with 74 hits allowed. Age 21, Bird has one of the highest ceiling arms in the Dodgers system but is still working on consistency and general command. He has plenty of arm strength with a 93-95 MPH fastball (he has hit 98-99 on his best days) but his secondary pitches remain erratic and he is still working on his mechanics.
If Bird comes together as scouts hope he could be a fine number three starter but considerable development work is still needed.
Jeff Brigham, RHP, Dodgers to Marlins: A fourth round pick in 2014 from the University of Washington, Brigham is another pitcher from Rancho Cucamonga with unattractive numbers but a good arm. In 68 innings this year he has rung up a 5.96 ERA with a 64/36 K/BB in 68 innings with 78 hits allowed. His best pitch is a power sinking fastball clocked as high as 97 on his best days, helping him post a 1.86 GO/AO, but his slider and change-up are mediocre and Cal League hitters have been able to handle him to this point.
The Dodgers were using Brigham as a starter but he likely projects best as a relief arm at higher levels.
Kevin Guzman, RHP, Dodgers to Marlins: Signed out of Venezuela in 2012, 19-year-old Guzman pitched for the Great Lakes Loons in the Low-A Midwest League this year, posting a 3.90 ERA in 83 innings with a 62/29 K/BB and 94 hits allowed. Scouting information on Guzman is scarce at this point and we will pass on anything we discover when we discover it.
Hector Olivera, 2B-3B, Dodgers to Braves: A 30-year-old Cuban defector, Olivera signed with the Dodgers in May and has hit .348/.392/.493 through 19 minor league tuneup games at three levels, though he is currently on the Triple-A disabled list with a hamstring injury. The Braves pursued Olivera before he signed with the Dodgers for $62.5 million so they are getting the man they want here.
What is Olivera, exactly? He's too old to be a "prospect" in the traditional sense of course. The Dodgers considered his bat to be major league ready with the ability to hit for both power and average, a projection that the early minor league numbers support. Questions revolve around his defense, his birthday, and a long record of medical problems which led some teams to believe that the Dodgers paid too much for him. Obviously the Braves are not one of those teams.
Jose Peraza, INF-OF, Braves to Dodgers: The best-known traditional prospect involved, Peraza is a 21-year-old Venezuelan hitting .294/.318/.379 in 96 games for Gwinnett in the Triple-A International League. He doesn't have huge power or much patience but he makes contact, is an effective basestealer (26 steals this year, 203 in his minor league career), and draws praise for his defense up the middle. The Braves used him mainly at second base and center field this year but he had a good reputation as a shortstop before shifting positions to accommodate Andrelton Simmons.
This trade is not official pending a final assessment of the medical reports so we will update when/if/as necessary.