The Atlanta Braves added to their pitching staff on Tuesday, trading for Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for four prospects.
Gausman, 27, has spent his entire six-year career with the Orioles. In 21 starts this season he has a 5-8 record with a 4.43 ERA. Last year he set career highs with 11 wins and 179 strikeouts, while tying for the Major League lead with 34 starts. The Orioles fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, he has 39 wins and a 4.22 ERA in 127 career starts.
The 35-year-old O’Day, meanwhile, is an 11-year veteran who has a 2.56 career ERA in 577 games. He made his first All-Star appearance with the Orioles in 2015. This year he appeared in 20 games with a 3.60 ERA, but will miss the rest of the season with a hamstring injury suffered in June. He remains under contract for 2019 with a $9 million salary.
Of the prospects the Orioles are getting in return, Phillips is closest to making it to the Major Leagues. He has a 1.99 ERA at Triple-A Gwinnett this year, while also making four appearances for the Braves where he has a 8.53 ERA. Cumberland, the Braves’ second round pick in 2016, is hitting .236 with 11 home runs at Single-A Florida, while Zimmerman has a 2.76 ERA at Single-A Rome.
This is the second time this week these two teams have exchanged relief pitchers. On Sunday the Braves acquired Brad Brach from the Orioles. They also added former All-Star outfielder Adam Duvall from the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.
The Braves (56-47) are currently a half game behind Philadelphia for the NL East lead and Arizona for the second Wild Card spot.
With O’Day out for the season, the Braves are counting on Gausman to be the key piece of this deal. The Braves needed help for their rotation, which is currently missing two starters. Brandon McCarthy has been out since June 28 with a knee injury and is not expected back until mid-August, while Mike Soroka is out under September with shoulder inflammation. Gausman has a solid track record for being a reliable arm who can take the ball every fifth day and consume innings. They also didn’t have to part with any of their top-10 prospects, with Encarnacion (#14) the best prospect going to Baltimore.
The Orioles (32-74) are in complete rebuild mode. They are on pace for their worst record since moving to Baltimore in 1954. In addition to Gausman and O’Day, they already traded away franchise players Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop. The best that can be said about this deal is they get to shed O’Day’s salary, while getting four solid prospects in return.