Braves Focus On Pitching Prospects

P – Jason Grilli (AP Photo/John Raoux, file)

Tuesday, the Braves completed a trade that sent reliever Jason Grilli to the Blue Jays in exchange for RHP prospect Sean Ratcliffe. The 39 year old Grilli had posted a 5.29 ERA in 21 appearances this season, coming off a season that was cut short in 2015 due to a told Achilles’ tendon. At the time of the injury last July, Grilli factored to be one of the clubs more attractive trade pieces, but spent the next eight months following through on his promise to be 100 percent healthy for the start of Spring Training.

Ratcliffe, a 21 year old right handed pitching prospect, spent 2015 in extended spring, posting a 3.60 ERA in 22 games last year. The Braves will start Ratcliffe in extended spring and then make a determination of his next step after seeing him throw a few times.

But this trade isn’t necessarily about the piece the team got in return for their former closer. GM John Coppolella said the Braves want to continue to give young pitchers opportunities here in Atlanta this season, to see what they have going forward. One young arm we should see in the next couple weeks is Shae Simmons, who has been working himself back from Tommy John surgery last February. Simmons experienced some tricep soreness after his third rehab appearance last week but expects to resume his stint later this week. Sommons, the hard-throwing righty will provide another flamethrower to the back of the Atlanta pen, which will be a nice complimentary piece to Arodys Vizcaino. For now, until Simmons and Jim Johnson return, Ryan Weber will add depth to the Atlanta bullpen with Grilli’s departure.

Kevin McAlpin covers the Braves for the @BravesRadioNet. Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinMcAlpin