The MLB offseason has been relatively quiet thus far, but that didn't stop the Cleveland Guardians from pulling off an intriguing trade last week.
Cleveland traded top prospect Nolan Jones to the Colorado Rockies for infielder Juan Brito, a 21-year-old who has yet to play above Single-A ball. Considering Jones ranked as high as No. 3 in the Guardians system (in 2021) and had already made his MLB debut, the trade came with some questions.
MLB insider Ken Rosenthal explained the Guardians' reasoning for this deal.
Rosenthal indicated a few reasons the Guardians parted ways with Jones. The main stems from incumbent third baseman Jose Ramirez. Jones is both a third baseman and outfielder, but Ramirez just signed a lengthy contract extension. The face of the franchise enters the second year of this seven-year deal in 2023.
It's also a matter of lefty versus righty swinging. Jones swings from the left side and Rosenthal explained "the Guardians are deep in left-handed hitters in the outfield and first base." Brito possesses strong value in athleticism and strike-zone management, which was the final part of Cleveland's reasoning.
Brito is just 21 years old and has plenty of time to continue his development before making a potential long-term impact on the franchise. It may take a few years until we find out, but there's a chance the Guardians won this trade. After all, they're considered one of the best at identifying and developing young baseball talent.
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