When it comes to the National League East this offseason, technically no team has made more noise than the Miami Marlins. They traded away almost their entire starting lineup in a massive salary dump to begin another rebuild.
But the one team that has made the most moves in interest of actually getting better next year has been the Atlanta Braves. After claiming Jordan Schafer off waivers and signing B.J. Upton to a big free agent deal, Atlanta has agreed to send starter Tommy Hanson to the Angels for relief pitcher Jordan Walden. An already stacked Braves’ bullpen is about to get even better.
Walden is just 25 years old and holds a career 3.06 ERA through three major league seasons. His best year was 2011 when he posted 32 saves with a 2.98 ERA in 60 1/3 innings pitched. He lost the closer role in 2012 to Ernesto Frieri and had become expendable with the Angels’ signing of Ryan Madson.
The Braves already have their closer in Craig Kimbrel, one of the game’s best. Walden is expected to pitch in a seventh or eighth inning role for Atlanta.
Braves’ GM Frank Wren told the Associated Press the team isn’t done adding pieces.
“We’re still looking for left fielder-leadoff guy, but I don’t know if that is connected with this deal,” Wren said.
With signing Upton, the Braves aren’t expected to bring back Michael Bourn. That means they have basically swapped Bourn and Hanson for Upton, Schafer, and Walden. How much they have improved exactly is hard to tell, but they may have a few more moves in store before this is all over with.