Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Braves valued empty space more than they valued Jason Grilli

The Braves are paying vagabond reliever Jason Grilli to just go away. It's not nearly on the level of them paying Melvin (B.J.) Upton to just go away last season, but it's sort of the same idea.

Grilli, who pretty good last season until suffering a torn Achilles in July, was traded to his ninth team, the Toronto Blue Jays, Tuesday night. Grilli had little value on the trade market  with an ERA of 5.29. But Braves general manager John Coppolella was so motivated to get him off the roster and open more space for younger pitchers that it's believed the team will pay most of the reliever's remaining contract.

In return, they get a minor-league pitcher (Sean Ratcliffe) who was in extended spring training, which makes the second time in 20 days the Braves traded for a pitcher who hasn't even been on a minor-league roster this season. They traded Jhoulys Chacin to the Los Angeles Angels on May 11 for Adam McCreery, who also was in extended spring training.

So next time somebody in the Braves' front office says , "We're trying to win this season," remember that.

There is little financial gain to this deal for the Braves. Grilli's salary is $3.5 million, with a club option for 2017. Under terms of the trade, it's believed the Blue Jays are being asked to pay only the prorated portion of the major-league minimum and Grilli's $250,000 buyout next year. The Braves pick up the balance, which is more than $2 million.

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It's not surprising the Braves would deal Grilli. He was expected to go before the trade deadline. But the fact they would make the move only 50 games into the season illustrates where they are in their "process."

"What we’ve tried to do in a year like this is try to find out what we have with the young arms that we have here," Coppolella said.

And on that note: What do the Braves have in Mallex Smith? He has become a watchable player in a watchable season. For more on Smith, click here.

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.