Earlier today the news broke that the Braves traded RHSP Jhoulys Chacin to the Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim for a left-handed relief prospect named Adam McCreery. In light of the deal, Williams Perez was recalled to start tonight’s game against the Phillies.
The trade was likely much more a signal that the brass appears ready to continue the early stages of the parade of newly acquired young players earlier than they had planned given the state of things in Atlanta thus far this season. As usual, some Braves fans are already screaming about the return – before even taking the time to find out anything about McCreery – but that’s become the norm during this rebuilding/reloading/restructuring process. I certainly wouldn’t compare McCreery to John Gant but the situations surrounding the acquisition of both Pitchers are similar – the Braves received Gant and Rob Whalen from the Mets last summer when they were looking to unload veterans in the hope they might uncover a diamond-in-the-rough or two to add to the growing system they were (and still are) in the process of building.
A quick look at McCreery from John Sickels’ perspective can be found here, and if a couple of those traits strike you as if you’ve heard them before there’s a reason – he profiles as something the Braves have been desperately lacking for a couple seasons now, a LOOGY they hope can develop into someone they could eventually depend on IF everything works out. Cameron Maybin was traded for Ian Krol this past winter, now Chacin’s dealt for another one…sense a pattern yet? The organization has had a LONG history of giving its pitching prospects every possible chance to develop as starters, meaning that even if it winds up with the mythical “pitching surplus”, we’re not likely to see Sean Newcomb, Max Fried, Kolby Allard or others transitioned to bullpen roles any time in the near future.
Back to the original line of thinking, this trade was likely more about moving on – Perez will get a few starts to see what he’s got before the Braves make a decision about whether he fits better in a bullpen role. The June “Super Two” cutoff date is approaching, and it’s only fair that they give Williams a good hard look before replacing him with Gant, Tyrell Jenkins, or possibly even Lucas Sims as the “Lost Summer Of ’16” rolls further along.