Braves to acquire Raisel Iglesias

The Braves pulled off a huge buzzer just before the deadline, closing in on Raisel Iglesias angels in exchange for a throwing prospect tucker davidson and just Jesse Chavezreports Robert Murray of FanSided (Twitter link). Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweet that the Braves will pay the remainder of Iglesias’ contract — a four-year, $58 million deal that covers the 2022-25 seasons.

It’s a last-second surprise to bring one of the game’s most established late-inning relievers into an already deep Atlanta bullpen. Iglesias has slowed since a stellar start to the season but still boasts a reasonable 4.04 ERA with an excellent 32.9% strikeout rate and 6.2% walk rate so far this season. Dating back to 2017 – Iglesias’ first as a full-time closer (then with the Reds) – he threw a combined 2.99 ERA while knocking out 32% of opponents against a walk rate of just 7 .1%.

Iglesias’ average fastball of 95.3 mph is down about a mile per hour in the 2021 season, and his 14.9% swing strike rate is the second-lowest rating he has. posted as a full-time reliever. Both are at least minor red flags, especially when paired with his recent crash, but for most of the season Iglesias has appeared to act as a quality lever-relief, even though his numbers are down a bit from last year’s career-best performance.

Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos has a history of acquiring high-priced door closers. He recently dispatched the marginalized Will Smiththe best reliever in the 2019-20 free agent class, for starters Jake Odorizzi. In March this year, he signed Kenley Jansen to a one-year, $16 million contract. The Iglesias trade recalls a delay deal from the Braves from three years ago, when Anthopoulos acquired Marc Melancon of the Giants and was surprisingly willing to take on all of his remaining contract. At Iglesias, the Braves earn more than $51 million through 2025. Anthopoulos explained today: “We had a lot of things in the works. Iglesias is someone we had an eye on and he got into place very late, with two minutes to go.

The Braves now have a high-priced tandem to close out games in Jansen and Iglesias, as well as A. J. Minter, Collin McHughand Tyler Matz. Beginner Dylan Lee is also making an impact, recently succeeding in high leverage places.

For the Angels, the deal with Iglesias serves as an escape from an expensive contract. Ultimately, the Angels will only pay about 11% of the contract they made eight months ago. The Angels are in a strange position as they will fail to reach the playoffs for the eighth straight year. They lost more than $58 million in contract commitments for Iglesias and Noah Syndergaard today, but they owe over $75 million to Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon next year and control only the MVP candidate Shohei Ohtani for two more seasons.

Angels owner Arte Moreno allowed general manager Perry Minasian to listen to Ohtani’s offers in recent weeks, but decided not to pull the trigger. Ohtani’s future, and the direction of the Angels in general, will be a question in their offseason.

In addition to bailing out a large financial commitment, the Halos add Davidson, a 26-year-old southpaw with Major League experience. Before the season, Baseball America viewed Davidson as a 45-year-old prospect, a potential starter with maybe three average throws. Currently working in his third and longest stint at Triple-A, Davidson has a 4.59 ERA due to a high flyball home run rate, but he has a solid 20.9 K-BB%.

Chavez, soon to be 39, returns to the Angels after spending the 2017 season with the team. The Angels are one of nine teams the veteran reliever has pitched for during his venerable 15-year career.

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