The first big trade of the 2017 season took place last night. It involved Cardinal first baseman Matt Adams and the Atlanta Braves. Here’s how it shakes out for both teams.
At around 6 P. M. Central Time last night, news was released that Cardinals back up first baseman, Matt Adams, had been traded to the Atlanta Braves along with cash, for 19-year old prospect Juan Yepez. Let’s take a look at both sides of the transaction, starting down South in Atlanta.
In Wednesday’s 8-4 win over Toronto in Atlanta, Freddie Freeman exited the ballgame with an apparent injury. Freeman was struck on the left wrist by an Aaron Loup fastball in the bottom of the fifth inning. After an MRI scan revealed a non-displaced bone fracture, the Braves placed Freeman on the 10-day DL. Freeman, however, is expected to miss around 10 weeks of baseball.
Before his injury, Freeman was playing like an MVP during his age 27 season. In just 37 games, the Braves star had already amassed 14 homers and 25 RBI, while hitting to the tune of a .341 average. With Freeman gone, the Braves were left with two internal options.
Their first choice was Jace Peterson, who prior to Freeman’s injury had never started a game at first. And their second choice was Rio Ruiz, a youngster with just seven career plate appearances coming into the 2017 season.
So, it was clear that the Braves needed an experienced, yet affordable, replacement at first base, to hold them over for two and a half months while Freeman recovers. Adams, in my opinion, was the perfect fit.
In his sixth year as a major league first baseman, Adams, with Matt Carpenter taking over the starting role, assumed a backup role in St. Louis. This made him a dispensable piece for the Cards. At age 28, Adams, a potential contributor to any lineup, should not be regelated to the bench.
“Big City,” as we know, is not unaccustomed to a starting role. Adams had become a nice piece of the Redbirds teams of the last four year. He played 108 games in 2013, 142, a career high, in 2014, and 118 in 2016. Batting a career .271 with 217 RBI in 486 games played, Adams, despite his undeniable power potential, has been not much more than a solid contributor in his time with St. Louis.
However, this is exactly what the Braves were looking for in this deal. They need a guy to stand in while they wait for their guy to get back. Afterwards, the backup will return to a bench role, and will possibly be released or traded at years end. Adams was clearly their man, especially considering they had to give up just one young prospect, Juan Yepez.
In July of 2014, 16 year old Venezuelan infielder Juan Yepez signed with the Antlanta Braves as an international free agent. Since then, Yepez has moved through Rookie ball up to LowA. Over 3 years in the minors, the young prospect lays claim to a .281 average with six homers and 54 RBI in just under 450 at bats.
The 19 year old missed three months of his 2016 season with an injury. This will probably push back his expected arrival date to the majors. However, the Cards clearly like what they see from the youngster, enough to give up an important part of their team for Yepez.
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