Top 10 August Additions in Braves History

Top 10 August Additions in Braves History

With less than two weeks before the August 31 waiver trade deadline, the Atlanta Braves seem likely to shop hard for improvements to their current roster. While the team can continue to add assets after the calendar switches to September, those players will be ineligible for any potential playoff roster. That increases the incentive to get a trade or, for that matter, a waiver pickup completed before the deadline reaches.

This is nothing new for the Braves, who last year completed the Sean Rodriguez trade after the non-waiver deadline of July 31 passed. Throughout their long history, Atlanta has made some big pickups in the month of August even when they didn’t look big at the time. Atlanta hero Francisco Cabrera was himself a waiver trade addition. Back in 1989, the Braves sent reliever Jim Acker to the Blue Jays for Cabrera and Tony Castillo.

That deal didn’t make my Top 10 August Additions list. Not because it didn’t pay off big for the Braves, but because I gave preference to the moves that brought immediate dividends first-and-foremost. After all, the current Braves team is looking for immediate value. Also, this list doesn’t care about what the Braves gave up to acquire these players. The focus is entirely on what the Braves got.

Honorable Mention: Daryle Ward (2006), Kent Mercker (2001), Greg Colbrunn (1997), Luis Polonia (1995), and Cabrera (1989).

10. Ed Brandt, 1927

If you are looking for immediate value, it wouldn’t be found with this pick-up. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Brandt joined the Pacific Coast League’s Seattle Indians in 1924 as a 19-year-old. For three years, he rarely played before landing a starring role in 1927. He was credited with nineteen wins and limited the PCL to a 3.97 ERA over 261 innings before the Boston Braves purchased his contract. The left-hander wouldn’t pitch in ’27, but would become one of Boston’s regular hurlers over the next eight years. The first three years were ugly, but Big Ed finally matured into one of the game’s finer southpaw starters in 1931 with a 2.92 ERA. Over a four-year run, he carried a 3.23 ERA and 3.69 FIP over a thousand innings.

9. Jeff Reardon, 1992

When he was acquired by the Braves for pitchers Nate Minchey and Sean Ross, Reardon had just passed Rollie Fingers for the career saves record. He’d add a trio of saves over 14 games with the Braves that included a 1.15 ERA. However, his run with the Braves would be marred by Game 2 of the ’92 World Series. Reardon was handed a 4-3 lead in the ninth inning. After walking Derek Bell, he gave up a first-pitch two-run homer to Ed Sprague. Before that long ball, Atlanta was two outs away from a Two Games-To-None lead in the Fall Classic. Instead, they would lose three straight. After prolonging the series for a return to Atlanta in Game Six, they lost in extra innings.

8. Rudy Seanez, 2001

Three years before this move, Seanez had come out of nowhere to be a valuable member of the Braves bullpen. After leaving to return to the Padres in ’01, he struggled with his control before the Braves brought him back for Winston Abreu right before the August 31st deadline. In a dozen games, Seanez found the strike zone with regularity and was back to his old solid ways. He’d throw three more scoreless innings in the playoffs before leaving in the offseason. Seanez is the kind of move we see a lot in August. No-name middle relievers who pitch quality innings down the stretch.

Lew Burdette | Baseball Digest (Public Domain) via Wikipedia Commons
7. Lew Burdette, 1951

Like the Brandt trade several years before, Burdette’s value would come in future seasons. On August 29 of 1951, the Braves sent former popular staple Johnny Sain to the Yankees for cash and Burdette. Selva Lewis Burdette would pitch just three times after the trade and spent most of the next two years as a swingman, but emerged in 1954 to form a formidable top of the rotation with Warren Spahn. Burdette’s best moments came in 1957 when he shut down the Yankees over three starts. He pitched every inning, including the final 25 without allowing a run.

6. Jaret Wright, 2003

While Wright’s follow-up season would be far more memorable, Wright’s run with the Braves started as a solid middle reliever. In eleven games, he K’d nine in nine innings. Wright threw four hitless innings in the playoffs against the Cubs, though the Braves would drop the NLDS in five games largely due to the incredible right arms of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. Still, it was a great waiver pickup and the Braves had control of Wright for another season. In 2004, Wright would finish with a 3.28 ERA in 186.1 innings – the second most innings he’d ever throw in a single season. His performance landed him a big deal with the Yankees, but he’d quickly fade away.

5. Denny Neagle, 1996

The one true blockbuster August deal for the Braves. With Steve Avery beginning to decline and Jason Schmidt showing he wasn’t quite ready for prime time, the Braves tried to add depth to their impressive rotation with the acquisition of Neagle. It had taken Neagle a few years to “get it,” but he exploded in ’95 and was on his way to another solid campaign in ’96 before the Braves added him. He’d struggle over a half-dozen starts and was unremarkable in the postseason, but Neagle rebounded for two great seasons before he was dealt to the Reds.

4. Alejandro Pena, 1991

He rarely seemed to throw without pain, but Pena’s arrival in August of 1991 gave the Braves a stabilizing force in the late innings. He picked up eleven saves after the Braves sent Joe Roa and Tony Castillo to the Mets for him. Pena was perfect in four games against the Pirates in the NLCS, including three saves, but blew a save in the World Series and took the loss in Game 7. Brought back in 1992, his troublesome right shoulder led to the Reardon trade. Unlike everyone else on this list, Pena would come back to the Braves in a second August trade – this time in 1995. He’d work eight games in the playoffs that year, including taking a loss in Game 3 of the World Series.

3. Derrek Lee, 2010

His MVP-quality bat abandoned him in 2010, but Lee was reinvigorated after his August trade from the Cubs. Lee replaced an ailing Troy Glaus in the lineup and slashed .287/.384/.465 for a Braves club that lost Chipper Jones and Martin Prado before the playoffs even began. However, for all the good he provided down the stretch, his bat was non-existent in the playoffs. He managed two singles and a walk against the Giants in 17 PA as the Braves fell in four games.

2. Mike Devereaux, 1995

Devereaux went from a full-time performer to a backup role player with the Braves. However, some of his biggest individual accomplishments came with the Braves. He hit just .255 over 57 PA after the trade with a homer and two walks. In the NLDS, he hit just five times. In the NLCS, the Braves played the Reds, who used three left-hand starters (John Smiley, David Wells, and Pete Schourek). That prompted Bobby Cox to sit regular left fielder Ryan Klesko and start Devereaux. He’d respond with four hits, including a three-run homer in the clinching Game Four. Devereaux was awarded the NLCS MVP after the four-game sweep.

1. Julio Franco, 2001

The suddenly cash-strapped Braves searched everywhere for an answer to their first-base conundrum, where a mix of Rico Brogna, Wes Helms, and Ken Caminiti had failed to impress. Enter Franco, the ageless wonder who had one plate appearance in the bigs over the previous nearly four years. Plucked from the Mexican League, Franco hit .300/.376/.444 down the stretch and .291/.363/.424 over parts of six seasons total for the Braves. Not too shabby for the price of practically nothing.

Prefer another pick to mine? Let me know below.

10 Comments

Nice stroll down memory lane!

What do you think of The Braves calling up Bryce Wilson today (must admit, was totally surprised by that one). Hopefully he’ll show enough ‘swing and miss’ stuff (unlike Kolby Allard)…and be brought back to fill a role in the bullpen after he’s sent back down to AAA after this spot start (10 days from now, would be August 30-31st…making Wilson eligible for The Post-Season Roster).

Hey Tommy et al, now might be a decent time (before the end of August) to review our WAR predictions from the beginning of the season. Seems like the Braves are on track from one of the more optimistic tracks to get 88 wins (current FG precidtion). I recall thinking the hitting needed to come in at about 25 WAR and the pitching about 16 WAR (12 for SP and 4 for bullpen). The hitters are surprisingly on track to equal or beat that. The only area I see currently lagging is SP and that may be an effect from earlier this year (BG = before Gausman and before some recent callups). Anyway, of course, the individual positional accomplishments may show something different, too.

Roger….at the end of Spring Training….I decided to reverse my previous pessimistic prediction of another year of The Braves struggling in Atlanta (because of how WELL our guys played in Spring Training…as well as some projections of immediate impact by a number of our young players, particularly later in the season)……and predict that The Braves would win 86 games (check the blog that Tommy or Ryan posted right before The Regular Season began, when they made their predictions for how many games The Braves would win in 2018…..mine was BY FAR the best.

Sure, I was of the mind during The 2017 Offseason that we were going to SUCK AGAIN in 2018 (I was ok with that, because I felt that this year was going to give A PLETHORA of our young guys a lot of time to play…which would prepare them better to possibly break out in 2019…along with the HELLA financial payroll flexibility that AA has after making The Matt Kemp Trade. However, the effort that The Braves displayed in Spring Training…was different than in recent years. I watched every game I could the last half of Spring Training on The MLB App. I felt that we would struggle early in the season…then come on later because after making trades to get rid of the deadwood, our roster would be full of young guys who could be similar to The 2016 Yankees…who went with the youngsters after trading away their vets, and ended up making a playoff run before fading at the end of the season. However that run prepared them for The 2017 Season..which ended in Game 7 of The ALCS for them).

While obviously some of ‘how’ I projected the season to play out didnt happen (1. Teheran and Markakis WERE NOT traded…2. Gohara and Soroka DID NOT win 10-15 games each, lol). Acuna and Albies have both SPARKED our offense. I felt that those tho raking, would play a huge role in The Braves pushing for 86 wins.

By the way…how many wins did you predict that The Braves would win prior to the season beginning?

Paul, as stated in my post, I was looking for 25 WAR from the hitters and 16 from the pitchers. Added to a base of 47 (I can’t recall if the base was 46, 47, or 48), that comes out to 88 wins. I think that may fall a couple short now. It’s hard to see this team not winning 90 at this point (only have to be 19-17 from here on to do it and a good Marlins series could break the division open).

FG now has us pegged for 89 wins and third best record in the NL. Their projections are finally catching up.

According to the current FG predictions, our hitters will accumulate 26.9 WAR and the pitchers 14.6. That means the hitters will exceed my prediction and the pitchers will fall short. 41.5 + a base of 47 yields 88.5 which is why FG pegs us at 89 wins. Bottom line is that our max win total is likely to be determined by how much better our pitchers can pitch than expected. Getting Touki, Bryse, Fried, Viz, and Carle back by Sept 1st or sooner is really going to help that situation. Most of us have fretted about needing a good bench bat especially a LH one, but pitching is the key.

Tommy….remember, I predicted 86 wins for The Braves. I explained that I expected The Braves to play MUCH BETTER in the 2nd half (because of the infusion of young talent I expected to make it’s way onto the roster as the season wore on)…however I expect us to struggle in the 1st half (because of certain veterans like Teheran and Markakis taking up roster spots and struggling early on).

However, how could any SANE sports fan expect Markakis to perform like he did in the 1st half? Getting out of their mind performances in April from Tucker and Flaherty contributed to the early hot start. However, from May to the end of July, The Braves record was basically .500-ish (which I expected before the season started).

In August, The Braves have picked up the pace record wise (Colorado series aside). After the upcoming 4 game series with The Marlins this weekend…the schedule is pretty BRUTAL come September. If we struggle the rest of the way, my 86 win prediction will be close to spot on. However if we can keep battling enough to win the division…I feel that 92 wins is possible (a remarkable prospect going into this season)!

What’s really favoring The Braves right now….1. The Nationals not being able to get their act together. They have too much talent to be a .500 team right now! 2. The Phillies’ bullpen is more inept than ours….AND….their offense has some serious holes in it…3. They HELLA STRUGGLE on the road.

I cant help but believe that AA is going to make a move to strengthen the bench before The August 31st Trade Deadline. We NEED a left handed hitting option. While I dont feel a trade is needed for the bullpen…I cant help but feel that AA is going to make a couple of August 31st moves by promoting to The Braves Bullpen from the likes of Tooki Tousiant, Bryce Wilson…maybe even Kyle Wright and/or Corbin Clouse…to solidify The Braves Bullpen…making them playoff eligible. We need some back end bullpen guys who have swing and miss stuff…as well as the ability to pitch mulit-innings.

Nathan….lol, ok, here you go:

Starting lineup:

1. Ronald Acuna…LF
2. Ozzie Albies (when he gets hot, he’ll go back to hitting #2)…2nd
3. Freddie Freeman…1st
4. Nick Markakis….RF
5. Johan Carmago…3rd
6. Ender Inciarte….CF
7. Kurt Suzuki…C
8. Dansby Swanson…SS

Starting 4 (come playoff time, dont need 5 starters)

1. Folty
2. Newcomb
3. Gausman
4. Teheran

Bullpen

1. Minter
2. Brach
3. Winkler
4. Venters
5. Biddle
6. Max Fried
7. Tooki Tousiant
8. Bryce Wilson

Bench

1. Tyler Flowers
2. Adam Duval
3. Charlie Culberson
4. Michael Reed
5. some left handed bat that AA acquires by The August 31st Trade Deadline

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