Braves pull off trade for Brad Brach without giving up a player

The Atlanta Braves are using Major League Baseball’s penalty to their advantage. The team managed to pull off a deal for Baltimore Orioles reliever Brad Brach on Sunday. They did so without giving up a single player.

What did the Braves give to the Orioles for Brad Brach?

Instead of sending a player back to Baltimore, the Braves just sent international slot money, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Brach, 32, has a 4.85 ERA over 39 innings for the Orioles. It’s been an uncharacteristically down year for him. From 2013 to 2017, Brach has posted a 2.79 ERA. He’s set to be a free agent this winter.

What is international slot money?

It’s money a team can use to sign players on the international market. MLB’s new collective-bargaining agreement limited the amount teams can spend on the international market each year. Under the new system, a guy like Yoenis Cespedes can’t receive a four-year, $36 million deal anymore. Instead, teams are limited to roughly $5 million total. That figure can change based on a different factors. Teams may also trade up to 75 percent of their international slot money.

What does the trade mean for the Orioles?

It means Baltimore intends to be active on the international signing market. While spending is capped, the ability to acquire money means some teams can sign international players for more than others. Baltimore just began what could be a lengthy rebuild. Having more money than other teams on the international market could give them an edge in acquiring high-end talent.

This is a break from the norm for Baltimore. The team isn’t known for being a huge threat on the international market.

What does the trade mean for the Braves?

It gives them another dependable reliever. While Brach hasn’t been his usual self in 2018, there’s still a chance he can find his old form. If he does, he represents a major upgrade for Atlanta. The team’s 4.25 bullpen ERA ranks 19th in baseball. It’s one area the club really needs help. To their credit, they’ve picked up Jonny Venters and Brach prior to the trade deadline.

The Braves dealt away international spending money, but the team was working with a severely reduced budget this season. Due to going over their spending limit in previous years, the Braves only had $300,000 to spend on the international market in 2018. While they could have used that money to sign a player, they opted to deal that money to the Orioles and Rays in their deals for Venters and Brach.

The Braves’ penalties from MLB will kick in next season. The team will not be able to sign prospects for more than $10,000 in 2019. In 2020, their international spending cap will be cut in half. Given the severity of those penalties, the team could opt utilize the same strategy the next two years and trade that money for players.

Brad Brach is heading to the Braves in a trade. (AP Photo)
Brad Brach is heading to the Braves in a trade. (AP Photo)

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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