Sports Outside the Beltway

Braves Trade McBride to Tigers for Ledezma

The Atlanta Braves traded reliever Macay McBride to the Detroit Tigers for Wilfredo Ledezma.

Macay McBride was living his dream, pitching for the Braves. Then came Wednesday, and the small-town Georgia boy got smacked by the business side of baseball. The Braves traded the left-handed reliever to Detroit for another lefty, Wilfredo Ledezma, whom they frankly believed was better. And said so. “Macay’s still a young guy who certainly is capable of getting better,” Atlanta general manager John Schuerholz said. “It’s obvious by our actions we like Ledezma and his future better.”

Ledezma, 26, was 3-1 with a 4.79 ERA in 23 appearances for the Tigers this season, and 15-18 with a 5.15 ERA in 106 games (33 starts) over five seasons. McBride had a 3.60 ERA in 18 appearances for the Braves this season, and had pitched significantly better since returning from an April demotion to Class AAA.

He was shocked when manager Bobby Cox called him to his office Wednesday. “It kind of hits you all at once,” said McBride, 24. “I don’t feel anything right now…. Growing up watching the Braves, I wanted to be part of a team that wins here. But these guys [Tigers] are pretty good, too.”

Schuerholz said Ledezma’s starting ability attracted the Braves, but that they planned to use him out of the bullpen, for now. Ledezma has an 8-13 record and 5.56 ERA in 33 career starts. He was to fly to Atlanta with the Tigers on Wednesday night. They play the Braves in a three-game weekend series at Turner Field starting Friday. McBride took equipment from his Braves locker to a storage room in the visitors’ clubhouse. “It might make it an easier transition, just being able to walk over there,” he said, and smiled.

McBride, from Sylvania, was a first-round draft pick by the Braves in 2001. “It’s a sad day; we all like Macay,” right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. “It’s like when Langy [Ryan Langerhans] was traded. You always hear you lose buddies as the game goes along, and the more I’m here, the more I realize that.”

Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski said the move made sense for the Tigers because McBride has minor-league options left and Ledezma does not. The Tigers needed roster flexibility because they have some players coming off the disabled list soon, including pitcher Kenny Rogers, scheduled to start Friday’s series opener.

The payroll impact is a wash: McBride makes $400,000, Ledezma $415,000.

On paper, this looks like a great trade for the Tigers. They get a kid two years younger who’s already pitching much better. Still, John Schuerholz doesn’t miss too often when making trades involving young pitchers. He knows what he’s doing.

Sad news for McBride, in any case.

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