Braves strengthen Draft pool with trade

Matusz deal with Orioles helps club build for future

Braves strengthen Draft pool with trade

ATLANTA -- Repeating a practice they completed a few times last year, the Braves added to their MLB Draft pool Monday night, when they agreed to assume the remainder of Brian Matusz's salary in exchange for acquiring a Competitive Balance Draft pick from the Orioles.

The Braves announced they acquired Matusz and the 76th pick in the upcoming Draft from the Orioles in exchange for Minor League pitchers Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek.

"We are building for the future and the 76th pick fits within our plan," Braves general manager John Coppolella said. "We recognize value not only in terms of the potential player we select, but also in the flexibility provided with added bonus pool money."

• 2016 MLB Draft: June 9-11 on MLB Network, MLB.com

Matusz, who has posted a 12.00 ERA over seven relief appearances this season, was subsequently designated for assignment. Thus, the Braves simply agreed to assume the remainder of his $3.9 million salary to gain the extra Draft pick and sweeten their Draft pool by $838,900 (the figure assigned to the 76th selection).

The Braves now have five of this year's first 80 selections: Nos. 3, 40, 44, 76 and 80. Their Draft bonus pool now sits at $13,224,100 -- MLB's third-highest total, trailing only the Reds and Phillies

Barker and Belicek are a pair of 23-year-old pitchers who have gotten off to good starts this season. But their potential rise to Atlanta could have seemingly been blocked by the collection of more attractive pitching prospects in the organization.

Barker posted a 2.00 ERA and recorded 40 strikeouts while issuing 12 walks in 45 innings for Double-A Mississippi this year. Belicek posted a 2.86 ERA and recorded 32 strikeouts while issuing just one walk over 28 1/3 innings for Class-A Rome and Mississippi.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.