Gausman helps Braves ‘hit all the boxes’ for NL East push
ATLANTA (AP) — From the perspective of manager Brian Snitker, the addition of right-hander Kevin Gausman means the Atlanta Braves added help in all the right places for their push to win the NL East.
Snitker applauded four trades made by general manager Alex Anthopoulos.
“I feel really good,” Snitker said. “We talked about what you would like to have, and I think he hit all the boxes. Bullpen depth, starting pitcher, maybe a bat off the bench. I think they did a great job.”
The Braves acquired Gausman and veteran reliever Darren O’Day from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for four prospects Tuesday. The Braves also added outfielder Adam Duvall, acquired from the Reds late Monday, and relievers Brad Brach and Jonny Venters in the last five days.
Atlanta didn’t part with any of its top prospects in the process, either.
The Orioles acquired Triple-A right-hander Evan Phillips, Class A infielder Jean Carlos Encarnacion and two Double-A prospects — catcher Brett Cumberland and left-hander Bruce Zimmerman. Baltimore also received international signing bonus slot money.
“We’re always reluctant to move some of our higher ranked guys,” Anthopoulos said. ”... We like the guys we lost. There are certain guys that are more high-profile. We didn’t go into the trade deadline saying we refuse to move on our top prospects. Certain guys are harder to acquire than others. For the right deal for the right player, we’re open to it.”
The Braves entered Tuesday’s trade deadline a half-game behind first-place Philadelphia and five games ahead of third-place Washington in the NL East. The Phillies have also made a push, adding catcher Wilson Ramos and left-hander Aaron Loup on Tuesday after picking up infielder Asdrubal Cabrera last Friday. The Nationals traded away reliever Brandon Kintzler but otherwise stood pat at the deadline.
“We were just trying to make the team better,” Anthopoulos said. “Obviously it’s going to be a tight race in the East. Philadelphia made some nice moves. The Nats, we know how talented they are. ... It’s going to be tough. We want to win the division, as all the other teams do, but even the wild card is going to be challenging.”
Duvall joined the team Tuesday and has been designated for a platoon role, with most of his starts coming against left-handers. He’ll play left field, with rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. moving to center and Ender Inciarte moving to the bench against left-handers.
Duvall, hitting .205 with 15 home runs and 61 RBIs, also gives the team a powerful pinch-hitter.
Duvall said the platoon role “doesn’t really matter to me.”
“I’m excited to be here,” he said. “However they use me, I’ll go in there and do my best and hopefully win some ballgames.”
O’Day had season-ending surgery on his left hamstring July 12 and was acquired to be part of Atlanta’s 2019 bullpen.
Gausman, 27, was 5-8 with a 4.43 ERA in 21 games started for Baltimore. He is under team control through 2020.
“Really excited to go to a team that’s playing really well right now, playing meaningful games,” Gausman said, adding he was excited about his role after talking with Anthopoulos.
“I think it’s a good fit,” Gausman said. “After talking to their GM, I think they really liked me and have some things that can help me.”
This is the second deal between the teams in three days. Atlanta acquired Brach from Baltimore for an international signing slot Sunday.
Gausman adds experience to a rotation that has lost rookie Mike Soroka and right-hander Brandon McCarthy to injuries.
Anthopoulos said he didn’t feel he had to add a starting pitcher because he likes the depth provided by prospects, including left-hander Kolby Allard, promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett to make his debut Tuesday night against Miami.
“We were just looking at the right value and the right deal,” Anthopoulos said.
Allard is expected to be sent back to Gwinnett following Tuesday night’s game.
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