Braves trade Aybar to Tigers and announce their top prospect is coming up
The Tigers get better, the Braves get more interesting
Late last week, the Tigers placed shortstop Jose Iglesias on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained hamstring. On Tuesday, Detroit acquired a replacement, shipping veteran infielder Mike Aviles and catching prospect Kade Scivicque to Atlanta in exchange for Erick Aybar.
After the trade was complete, the Braves made another intriguing announcement: Top prospect Dansby Swanson is being promoted to the majors on Wednesday.
Here's how the news impacts both teams heading forward.
How it affects the Tigers
Aybar figures to slot in as the Tigers' starting shortstop until Iglesias heals. While his full-season numbers are putrid -- his 65 OPS+ is the third-worst among qualified hitters -- he's performed better in recent weeks. To wit, he's batted .313/.361/.424 in 108 second-half trips to the plate. It's cheating to pretend the bad times never happened -- they did, and there's a chance he'll slide back down the hill again soon. But the Tigers are hoping a move into a postseason race will help Aybar maintain his recently rediscovered panache.
Besides, Iglesias has posted the seventh-worst OPS+ among qualified hitters, so the Tigers are used to getting limited production from the shortstop position -- albeit, obviously, in conjunction with better defense. All Aybar has to do is perform better than Dixon Machado, the top internal candidate to fill in for Iglesias, and he'll be worth Detroit's time.
Given that the Tigers entered Tuesday 2 1/2 games back in the wild-card race, they could use each and every marginal upgrade at their disposal.
How it affects the Braves
Aviles' most important contribution to the trade? Serving as salary ballast. Though he could log innings at shortstop -- and other positions, seeing as how he's played six on the season -- his days as a productive player appear over. Aviles built his career off being a versatile left-handed masher, yet his .480 OPS against southpaws would be a personal worst. He's 35 years old, so a rebound is unlikely.
The seeming prize here -- and that's a relative term, considering this trade involves two past-their-prime infielders -- is Scivicque, who was Detroit's fourth-round pick in 2015. He's hit .282 during his first full professional season, and could develop into a big-league contributor:
Kade Scivicque is sort of interesting. Good enough defender behind the plate, not bereft of offensive ability. Could be a quality backup.— Christopher Crawford (@CVCrawfordBP) August 16, 2016
In reality, the prize here is opening up the shortstop position for top prospect Dansby Swanson, who will be promoted to the majors on Wednesday:
The top overall pick in the 2015 draft -- and the prize of the Shelby Miller payout -- Swanson had hit .275/.362/.426 across two levels this season. His well-rounded game has led scouts to label him a future first-division shortstop -- which is to say, in normal-person talk, a valuable player on a good team. The Braves sure hope so.
Braves fans have had to deal with a terrible product on the field with the knowledge that the future held plenty of promise. On Wednesday, they'll finally be able to get a glimpse of what that future actually looks like.
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