The Atlanta Braves have traded Tommy Hanson to the Los Angeles of Anaheim in exchange for Jordan Walden, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
It would appear that the Atlanta Braves would rather cut ties with Tommy Hanson rather than allow him to go to arbitration. Hanson, who posed as a top of the rotation guy for parts of his first three seasons, came crashing down in 2012 with drastically reduced velocity on his fastball and a penchant for serving up home runs. The 26-year old right-hander entered the Majors in 2009 with a fastball that hit upwards of 93 mph, but his average fastball velocity sat below 90 mph in 2012. His strikeout rates didn’t dip too significantly, but his walks went up and he finished the season with a 4.48 ERA, 4.57 FIP and 4.24 xFIP. Hanson is arbitration eligible for the first time.
Not to suggest velocity drops are permanent, and he is still relatively young, but Hanson was severely ineffective last season while mostly healthy.
In Jordan Walden, the Braves add a power bullpen arm who’s just 25-years old. Walden began 2012 as the Angels closer, but struggled out of the gate before relinquishing the role to a committee led by Ernest Frieri. He would finish the season with a 3.46 ERA in 39 innings, striking out nearly 28% of batters faced. He should slot in nicely as a hard thrower that the Braves can trot out to the mound in moderately high leverage situations.
The Angels have addressed a dire need for starting pitching depth, while hoping that Hanson can display some semblance of the ability he flashed between 2009 and 2011. Tommy Hanson the ace he is not, but he’s no Jerome Williams either.