Braves trade pitcher Asencio, formerly known as Luis Valdez

VIERA, Fla. – The Braves’ bullpen picture became a little clearer Thursday when they traded Jairo Asencio, the pitcher formerly known as Luis Valdez, to the Cleveland Indians for cash.

Barring any trade acquisitions between now and opening Thursday’s season opener, Braves sidearmer Cory Gearrin and left-hander Yohan Flande are left as the likely choices for the final two spots in the bullpen — though Gearrin had his second consecutive rough outing Thursday against the Nationals.

Asencio, 28, was out of minor-league options and would have had to clear waivers before he could be sent to the minor leagues if he wasn’t on the Braves’ opening day roster. Rather than keep him on the roster or lose him on a waiver claim and get nothing in return, the Braves traded the Dominican right-hander.

“He’s always been a one-inning pitcher,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said, “and the [bullpen] role we envision needing to make a decision on is a multi-inning guy who can give you two or three innings at a time. That’s not something he’s ever done, so we were coming to the end with him being out of options and we looked to make a deal.”

Asencio had a 3.27 ERA in 10 spring-training appearances, allowing 13 hits, four runs and three walks with 12 strikeouts.

The former Pittsburgh Pirates minor leaguer signed as a free agent with the Braves in 2007 and had an 0-1 record and 6.23 ERA in nine major league appearances over the past two seasons. He spent most of last season as the closer at Triple-A Gwinnett, where he had a 1.81 ERA and 26 saves in 47 appearances, with 70 strikeouts in 54-2/3 innings.

There have been issues off the field with Asencio, most notably the identity scandal that cost him the entire 2010 season after it was discovered he used a false identity (Luis Valdez) and claimed to be three years younger than his actual age.

He was on the restricted list for that season after being stuck in the Dominican Republic when he wasn’t immediately granted a new work visa.

The Braves’ bullpen has been mostly set since before spring training began, with closer Craig Kimbrel, lefty setup men Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty and versatile right-handers Kris Medlen and Cristhian Martinez.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said again Thursday that the Braves haven’t decided for sure that Medlen will be in the bullpen and not the rotation, but indications are Medlen will work in relief and Randall Delgado will get the final spot in the rotation.

After trading away Asencio and seeing Gearrin struggle again, the Braves might be even more certain about using Medlen in the bullpen because of a greater need there.

Delgado is expected to make as few as three fill-in starts before Tim Hudson returns from the disabled list in the last week of April. Hudson is recovering from back surgery and is set to start and pitch two innings Monday against the Mets in the Braves’ final Grapefruit League game.

62 comments Add your comment

GoJackets89

March 29th, 2012
2:57 pm

Coach

March 29th, 2012
2:59 pm

I suppose that I can say first!

Coach

March 29th, 2012
2:59 pm

Sorry GoJackets89, lol

Coach

March 29th, 2012
3:01 pm

I think this was a good move for the Braves. Rather lose him through waivers to another team, at least we get something for him. If anything, it pads their wallets to acquire another 3B/OF. We need more guys in the pen that can go 2-3 innings anyways.

Coach

March 29th, 2012
3:01 pm

I think this was a good move for the Braves. Rather lose him through waivers to another team, at least we get something for him. If anything, it pads their wallets to acquire another 3B/OF. We need more guys in the pen that can go 2-3 innings anyways.

Coach

March 29th, 2012
3:03 pm

Dave,

I know the Braves are looking for more depth in the IF/OF department. Besides Marlon Byrd and Wil Venable, any other names popping up in trade talks?

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jack's BBQ

March 29th, 2012
3:04 pm

Interesting. I will trade a warm beer for a cold one.

Coach

March 29th, 2012
3:13 pm

Freeman has looked good this spring, especially after starting off slow and the knee injury scare. Heyward has shown signs of his 2010 form. He is at least hitting the ball hard making them hard to field. Uggla looks like a beast and has had an excellent spring. We will undoubtedly hit better, can’t get much worse than the low .240’s. I just hope our pitching resembles last years.

richbrave

March 29th, 2012
3:25 pm

Yeah, well, that’s another way to go.

Puma

March 29th, 2012
3:26 pm

DOB – I am just curious, when you see these types of deals, what kind of money are we talking? I know it depends on the player, but are we talking like $10k, or couple hundred thousand? I assume its not in the million range.

Obviously, in a deal like Lowe’s, its a whole different level of cash considerations.

dap01

March 29th, 2012
3:37 pm

Sounds like Rick Sund with the Hawks.

Joey M

March 29th, 2012
3:40 pm

This is a non story. Apparently Cleveland has money for broken toys. We still need an OF bat. I half expected to see us trade for Billy Jo Robidoux when I saw we made a trade.

PMC

March 29th, 2012
3:42 pm

So, trading a player for cash is a sale right? wonder if they had to pay tax.

Post again, Coach

March 29th, 2012
3:50 pm

Seriously. Talkin to yourself…

Dozer

March 29th, 2012
4:00 pm

Cash? Can it play left field?

Joey M

March 29th, 2012
4:10 pm

Is that Norm Cash? The 1961 version? We need that one.

yogi

March 29th, 2012
4:11 pm

what happened with Robert Fish, the rule five guy

Why does he have a beard if he's only 10?

March 29th, 2012
4:18 pm

Did he also play for the Bronx Little League team a few years ago?

bulldogbubba

March 29th, 2012
4:18 pm

Medlen should be a starter.Why do the managers not start the best players over almost ready players?Put Delgado at Gwinnett so he can start and bring up Buddy Carlyle for bullpen.

Why does he have a beard if he's only 10?

March 29th, 2012
4:19 pm

Don’t trust a latin players age…..Their mothers can’t even keep track

bulldogbubba

March 29th, 2012
4:19 pm

Wheres Cluster’s or Stinger2 ?

Joey M

March 29th, 2012
4:27 pm

I was shocked when I saw Buddy Carlyle was with the Braves again. I remember him being quite effective. I like the idea of putting Carlyle out there and putting Medlen back in the rotation until everybody is healthy. Then, keep the best arms in the rotation. If Medlen pitches like he did in the beginning of 2011 he should stay. No point in having depth if you don’t utilize it.

Felix

March 29th, 2012
4:39 pm

For cash? What a buck ninety nine? I can’t imagine any club paying much for him.

Jack

March 29th, 2012
4:40 pm

I would go after a proven player and get back John rocker

KK

March 29th, 2012
4:43 pm

KK’s available

Frenk Wran

March 29th, 2012
4:47 pm

All right!! Yee, hah!! I can now sign K.K. to another huge contract!!

jonathan Simeone

March 29th, 2012
4:55 pm

This was a bad move. Flande has trouble throwing strikes and the Braves don’t really need a left-hander with below average stuff and control problems. Add to that Gearrin’s inconsistancy and I would much rather have seen Asencio on the team; at least he has decent stuff.

Kevin

March 29th, 2012
4:56 pm

Actually KK is pitching for the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Central League now

knockahomerx

March 29th, 2012
5:25 pm

Need some 3B, OF, and SS talent. They all need to hit alot.

buster brave

March 29th, 2012
5:47 pm

Chef

March 29th, 2012
6:04 pm

@Felix: about tree fiddy

ctrim

March 29th, 2012
6:05 pm

DOB, Are you sure this wasn’t an Atlanta Hawks transaction?

BC

March 29th, 2012
6:06 pm

Did we , at least get the value of a bag of bats, and a case of “MLB”, baseballs?

kevkat

March 29th, 2012
6:10 pm

Medlen in the bullpen? Not going to do you much good when you’re down 5 or 6 runs because of our current shakey starters..Medlen needs to start, enough said.

Ralph

March 29th, 2012
6:11 pm

They got a catcher last year for $1.00, hope they got more than that for Ascincio.

Ralph

March 29th, 2012
6:11 pm

They got a catcher last year for $1.00, hope they got more than that for Ascincio.

Ralph

March 29th, 2012
6:14 pm

Looks as though Heyward may be coming around, 2 HR’s in 2 days both to center field, a very good sign indeed. Of course we thought that several times last year didn’t we,

Rafael

March 29th, 2012
6:15 pm

WHY is Matt Diaz STILL on this or any other roster??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Diaz may think everything is a JOKE but having him on our Braves roster is a major EMBARRESSMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This NO-TALENT, SURE OUT, CLANK with the glove BUM should be out of baseball and raking leaves (because he DOESN’T rake lefthanders ANY MORE)!!!!!!

Throw “AFFORDABLE” out the window in Diaz’ case… he offers NO VALUE ADD to this team.

Disgusted

March 29th, 2012
6:28 pm

No big move, this Ascncio aka Valdez guy won’t be missed.

I did not know that Carlyle was still around, but you can use a AAAA guy like him for org depth.

There are still a few guys on the free agent list but guess they do not want to play for what teams think they are worth.

NickB

March 29th, 2012
6:41 pm

Medlen’s problem as a starter is he only has 2 pitches. (fastball and change) his breaking pitch isn’t really all that good. He get’s exposed a a starter after awhile. Whereas in the pen, he can just attack with those two pitches and only throw the 3rd in good pitch counts so as to keep them off balance. Not to mention the team wants Delgado to get another little taste of facing big league hitting.

HOF 10

March 29th, 2012
7:00 pm

Gotta get a look at Medlen as a starter.

JNick

March 29th, 2012
7:23 pm

Funny, I seem to remember another FB/Change guy who had just an “ok” curve…pretty sure he won a few games back in the day for the Braves…I think his name was…Glavine?

This “trade” was a bad move – as someone else said, Gearrin has had multiple rough starts, has control issues – how do you trade a guy like Asencio, who was having a great spring? Makes no sense…

As for Robert Fish, he’s having elbow problems, was supposed to be meeting with Dr James Andrews this week…

Nick P.

March 29th, 2012
8:00 pm

NickB.: what the heck are you talkin about, Medlin was dominant as a starter, game after game he kept the opposition down, didnotallow more two tothree runsper game,andif it was not forhis arm there wouldb no question of him being in the starting rotation as number four behind hudson, jurrjens and hanson! i recommend you go watch his starts again from two years ago and see for your self, he belongs in the rotation,but i could see from his success in bullpen that he can handle that role as well!

Nick P.

March 29th, 2012
8:04 pm

rafael, thats how the braves are, they always fall in love with one underachiever for a few years who manages to brain wash them and make them think he is better than he actually is, remember, kevin grabowski, remember jeff dedmon or something like that, remember graffanino,etc… Diaz is the one for the last few years, there is this myth that he is a good hitter, but maybe against the marlins only!

JC Brave

March 29th, 2012
8:08 pm

So, now that he was traded, is there really a need to bring up the name thing again?

NickB

March 29th, 2012
9:02 pm

Medlen in 2010 as a starter only struck out 27 in 42 1/3 innings . He started as a relief man in the minors, made spot starts, did a good enough job. But if you are going to try and compare his change to Glavine’s….well that’s just crazy talk!!!

Medlen is needed in the pen, Delgado will do just fine making 3 or 4 fill in starts. and Minor is clearly the better starting arm to Medlen’s. He has the makeup and will probably throw the most innings for the team this year unless Hanson can prove he’s okay.

NickB

March 29th, 2012
9:05 pm

Diaz isn’t my favorite either, but aside from last year his OPS against lefties has been pretty damn impressive (1.103 in 2009, .830 in 2010) honestly, I doubt there are many right handed specialists we could pick up that would be much better for the same or less $$$.

tiger297

March 29th, 2012
9:08 pm

I think you have to showcase medlen as a starter at the beginning of the year to set him up for a trade. Young starter for a RP and bench LF.

Personally I’m glad they aren’t exploring that route I would rather him stay with the braves

David O'Brien

March 29th, 2012
10:14 pm

DOB – I am just curious, when you see these types of deals, what kind of money are we talking? I know it depends on the player, but are we talking like $10k, or couple hundred thousand? I assume its not in the million range.

Obviously, in a deal like Lowe’s, its a whole different level of cash considerations. — Puma

It varies a great deal, but in many cases it’s only $100,000 or so.

leastof the east

March 29th, 2012
10:44 pm

this is going to be the Braves’ biggest move of the offseason.
apparently, Wren couldn’t even get another minor leaguer for him
but even $10 is music to the ears of Liberty Media
3rd place or bust in 2012

tyler

March 29th, 2012
10:56 pm

hey- i should probably following you on twitter and ask you this on there but, oh well, since i’m already here….is the sinead album worth the purchase or should i just download the single?

Mike Mangan

March 29th, 2012
11:43 pm

So we need outfield depth !!!We can get AARON ROWAND cheap as the Giants are still paying most of his 2012 contract.Third base depth ?How far away is Salcedo?He was a great sign when we did’nt have a number one pick two years ago.He should be close to being ready.As for the pen what about young Mr.Gilmartin I would think he might be a mid season add.LETS LOOK AT OUR OWN MINOR LEAGUE INFIELDERS INSTEAD OF BRINGING IN SOME STIFFS FROM OTHER TEAMS..

John A.

March 30th, 2012
12:03 am

Don’t get excited about JHEY just yet….THE SHOW hasn’t started yet…..let’ hope for the best.

Nevada Roy

March 30th, 2012
12:27 am

Was Jairo Asencio part of a “player-to-be-named-later trade?” :-)

Ebenezer Snerdberg

March 30th, 2012
7:53 am

Once again, I have faith. Fredi Cox and Roger McCox will blow it!
GO BRAVES!

Fog

March 30th, 2012
7:57 am

We are only talking 3 starts before Huddy is back. This is the fifth starter spot we are talking about. Degado & Teheran both show promise, but they need to get more innings in at the AAA level by the way they pitched this spring. At the beginning of the season, most pitchers only go 5 or 6 innings so they seem to be getting Medlen comfortable in his role as a long reliever. It also keeps him fresh in case one of the starters goes down and he has to make a few starts. Look for Medlen to come in on a fairly regular basis at least in the first half of the season especially when Hudson pitches. They need to work him carefully. Medlen will be a big weapon out of the bullpen, and he is great back-up if we need a starter at some point in the season. I’m hoping JJ, Hansen, Minor, Beachy & Hudson have solid years with no injuries.

Mike in TX

March 30th, 2012
10:13 am

No big news here, but Ascencio was always effective in the minors and never had much opportunity in Atlanta. And other than his fake ID, I never heard of him getting in trouble.

BrandonLee49

March 30th, 2012
12:38 pm

Hey 10 bucks is a Plus for a guy who lies aout personal information

Tom

March 30th, 2012
12:42 pm

so basically we are paying 9.9 million of so of lowes salary this year instead of 10 million?

Mark's for the Braves

March 30th, 2012
1:44 pm

Yeah we really needed a guy like Ascenio on the team to disrupt the club house–good riddance! A guy who will change his name and lie about his age will probably steal from you, too.

Ted Turner

March 30th, 2012
2:42 pm

It was a Brave move to sell them. However, in hindsight, they’ve destroyed everything I built.

Tired of the Drama

March 30th, 2012
4:43 pm

It was between Asencio and a nice Palm Harbor double wide, but in the end, the Indians chose Asencio.

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