When the Atlanta Braves pulled off a deal with the Los Angeles Angels yesterday to send Tommy Hanson west, the deal felt lopsided. The Braves were getting a relief pitcher who had never developed into anything close to a star. Hanson, on the other hand, was a top prospect and exceeded expectations once he came up. The trade seemed to be a loss on the Braves' end, but there may have been some hidden strategy behind it.
In an article today, Sports Illustrated suggests that the Braves shipped off Hanson in effort to avoid potential future injury issues. The team may have felt they got the best out of Hanson they could and it was smart to deal him while he still had some solid value.
The Angels are not necessarily receiving a pitcher who will instantly hit the disabled list. Hanson may never hit the DL. But the fact is, his velocity had dropped and his performance had diminished over the last couple seasons. Atlanta recognized this and rather than roll the dice on keeping him, they rolled the dice on him excelling in Los Angeles.
Hanson is still just 26 years old. He has a career ERA of 3.61. However, his 2012 season was one to forget. Hanson went 13-10 with a 4.48 ERA. It was a huge increase over his 2011 ERA of 3.60. The Angels, though, are getting a cost-controlled player in this deal. Hanson is arbitration-eligible this season and won't be a free agent until 2016.
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