Braves Trade Tommy Hanson to Angels for Jordan Walden
It’s been fairly quiet so far this MLB offseason. There’s been a few signings here and there, but not a lot of trading going on, at least not yet. We knew there was bound to be some high-profile moves happening in the coming months and we’ve got one of our first big ones with the Braves sending Tommy Hanson to LA for Jordan Walden.
The pitcher swap was announced Friday, as the Braves, which are deep at starting hurlers, looked to add another strong arm to their bullpen. Likewise, the Angels looked to beef up their rotation, so it appears to be a win-win for each side, right?
Hanson has definitely been solid in his four seasons with the Braves. His 45-32 record and 3.61 ERA is something the Angels wanted, but his history of injuries has to be worrisome for the Halos. Hanson, once considering to be a potential ace in Atlanta’s rotation, has endured chronic shoulder issues that have seen his fastball’s velocity drop to below 90 MPH and other problems, including the strained back that put him on the DL for nearly three weeks last season.
Although Hanson won a career-high 13 games last year, his ERA has declined in each season as a starter for the Braves. However, the Angels seem to know what they are getting with Hanson and are happy to have him join the squad.
“I don’t know that we’re necessarily looking for a bounce back,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said via ESPN.com. “He won 13 games. I don’t think it would be fair to qualify it as a disappointing season. … His velocity remained consistent from month to month. Our scouting reports remained consistent with what we’ve always thought of Tommy. He’s done it for four years at the big league level, and we think he’ll continue to do it.”
Atlanta is also happy to get a powerful arm to bolster its already solid pen. Walden struck out 67 hitters in just over 60 innings in 2010, saving 32 games in his rookie season, which earned him an AL All-Star roster spot. After suffering a shoulder injury himself in 2011, he was moved to middle relief last year, where he posted a respectable 3.46 ERA, striking out 48 batters.
“We’ve been focused on adding a power arm to our bullpen all offseason,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “We felt if we added one power arm we would have a bullpen that would stack up with the best bullpens in our league. Jordan Walden has closing experience and the kind of arm that will stack up well in a seventh- and eighth-inning role for us.”
It definitely seems like a well-executed deal on both sides and could make each team better. The Angels will need that little extra push to make the playoffs this upcoming season with the tough division they are in.