An interesting trade went down later in the day yesterday, with the New York Yankees finally parting with oft-injured, former top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos. The Yanks sent him to the Braves for a couple quality young bullpen arms, righty David Carpenter and lefty Chasen Shreve (Jack Curry).
Banuelos, 23, missed all of 2013 recovering from Tommy John surgery, and hasn’t yet reclaimed his top prospect status (he was a consensus top 30 guy in 2011/12). As most guys do, he battled some issues in his 2014 rehab year, showing some good stuff but also command troubles. The upside is still there, especially when you consider his age. Banuelos is the second post-TJS young arm the Braves have rolled the dice on this offseason, having already picked up Arodys Vizcaino from the Cubs.
Carpenter, 29, has been excellent the last couple years for the Braves, and is arbitration eligible for the first time. Shreve, 24, doesn’t have much big league experience, but looks like he could be a quality lefty.
There was a time when Banuelos was a guy the Yankees wouldn’t trade for almost anything, and now they deal him for a couple bullpen arms. That’s not a criticism; it’s just interesting. I totally see the deal from both sides, and I actually think it’s a good move for both (assuming the Yankees are going to sign, say, Max Scherzer and actually be competitive in 2015). Banuelos is exactly the kind of guy the Braves should be targeting right now.
Let the Banuelos return be a reminder, though: in addition to the value they might provide in big league performance for your club, prospects have asset value that can be captured in trade. That value, however, is fleeting and subject to wild and rapid swings. Sometimes it’s best to capture that value at its highest, even if it means giving up a “top” prospect.