Braves trade for Manny Banuelos

The Braves continue to tweak the roster with the first baseball trade of 2015.

The Braves continued their busy offseason into the 2015 calendar year Thursday with a three-player trade with the New York Yankees.

Manny Banuelos is coming to the Braves to compete for their fifth starter’s role in the rotation. He was acquired for relievers David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve.

Banuelos was once a top prospect in baseball, but in October, 2012 had Tommy John surgery. He missed all of the 2013 season recovering and slowly made his way back this past year.

The left-hander made five starts in High-A Tampa and had a 2.84 ERA, with 10 hits allowed in 13 innings, with two walks and 14 strikeouts. Then in AA, Banuelos made 16 starts (with one relief outing) and had a 4.59 ERA in 49 innings, with 19 walks and 44 strikeouts.

Then in Triple-A Scranton, Banuelos made four starts and allowed six runs on 14 hits in 15 innings, with 10 walks and 13 innings. Reports from the Instructional League had Banuelos showing more of his solid stuff, with a fastball in the 92-94 range and an improving cutter.

Banuelos will now be a candidate to follow Julio Teheran, Shelby Miller, Alex Wood and Mike Minor in the Atlanta rotation. It is possible the Braves will still look to bring in a veteran starter to compete for the job. Ryan Vogelsong is one name to keep in mind.

The Braves gave up two relievers that were penciled in for their 2015 bullpen, mostly Carpenter. Atlanta got two solid years out of Carpenter, whom they plucked off the waiver wire November 30, 2012 from the Red Sox.

Carpenter had a 1.78 ERA in his first season in 2013. He may be remembered for giving up the game-winning home run to Juan Uribe in the division series that October. But Carpenter bounced back and was solid again in 2014, as he posted a 3.54 ERA in 65 games in a larger role. Carpenter struck out 141 batters in 126.2 innings as a Braves reliever.

Shreve was a 11th round draft pick by the Braves in 2010 out of the College of Southern Nevada. The lefty reliever made 15 appearances for Atlanta in 2014 and did well. Shreve had a 0.73 ERA with only one run allowed in 12.1 innings, three walks and 15 strikeouts.

The Braves still have numerous bullpen options for setup men to closer Craig Kimbrel. Jim Johnson and Jason Grilli have been signed as veterans. James Russell is the main left-hander, although he struggles getting left-handed hitters out. Luis Avilan is another lefty. The Braves have been trying to trade Avilan and still could since he struggled last season. It’s likely the Braves will seek another lefty reliever.

Arodys Vizcaino was acquired from the Cubs in the Tommy La Stella trade. He’ll likely compete for a bullpen job. Shae Simmons is healthy and the Braves expect him in the mix. David Hale will be the long reliever. Expect more candidates to be brought in before spring training. Aaron Kurcz, acquired for Anthony Varvaro, and Brandon Cunniff are two young relievers who will be in big league camp competing for a job.

Carpenter and Shreve will join a revamped Yankees bullpen. Dellin Betances will replace David Robertson, who signed with the White Sox, as the closer. Andrew Miller will also get save opportunities after signing a big-money contract. The Yankees also traded for Justin Wilson from the Pirates and acquired Gonzalez German from the Mets. Andrew Bailey and Esmil Rogers will also be candidates for the New York bullpen.

The Braves have now made six trades this offseason since the new front office took over in October. More are expected before the start of spring training.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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