After just one season with the Atlanta Braves, starting pitcher Shelby Miller is on the move once again, as the team traded the right-hander to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
The Braves announced they will receive Ender Inciarte, Aaron Blair and 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson in return for Miller and Gabe Speier.
The Braves acquired the 25-year-old from the St. Louis Cardinals prior to the 2015 season in a deal that sent outfielder Jason Heyward the other way.
Although Miller went just 6-17, he was perhaps Atlanta's best player, as he posted an impressive 3.02 ERA and struck out 171 batters while being named to the All-Star team for the first time in his young career.
Despite his strong year in terms of peripheral statistics, Miller immediately became the subject of trade talks after the 2015 season. ESPN's Buster Olney reported that the pitching-rich San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers also kicked the tires on Miller.
Olney explained one of the reasons why the Diamondbacks made the trade, and the New York Post's Joel Sherman reported why the Braves chose Arizona's offer:
Atlanta has made several trades over the past year, many of which resulted in the acquisition of pitching prospects. That includes a deal in November that sent shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for a package that involved southpaw Sean Newcomb.
With so much pitching depth in their system, the Braves essentially made a business decision by trading Miller. At the same time, it is a bit of a risk, as Atlanta is banking on the notion that its other young pitchers will develop and produce at a level comparable to Miller but at a lower price.
The Braves are likely still a couple of years away from being competitive, and their focus must shift toward bringing in some capable hitters rather than continuing to stockpile pitchers. Trading away Miller suggests Atlanta's front office is aware of that, and while it may not be a popular move now, it could prove to be a smart one for the organization moving forward.
As for Miller, he must now prove himself with his third different team since entering the league. It isn't an easy circumstance for a player who has done nothing to warrant getting traded away, but his production so far points toward continued development into a top-flight pitcher.
Although the Braves are still in rebuilding mode, trading Miller is a move they could ultimately come to regret if he continues trending in the right direction and reaches his potential as a top-of-the-rotation arm.
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