Trade season is kind of like spring for baseball fans. If your team has life in the playoff race, then it becomes very interesting. If not, then there’s always the promise of rebirth next year. For fans of the Atlanta Braves, it’s somewhere in the middle right now. The team is playing better than they were, but they can’t quite get over the hump. Approaching the elusive .500 mark has been easy. Hurdling it and putting themselves in a better position has been the hard part. The team has yet to spend a day over .500 this year. They’ve simply let themselves hang around the middle of the standings. Nevertheless, they are only 4.5 games behind the New York Mets at the moment. Heading into the All-Star Break, all hope is not lost, despite what many might say.
Now, we enter the trading season. If conquered correctly, this could give the team some interesting advantages. Holes in the outfield and the bullpen can be addressed. There are extremely intriguing names on some teams having very bad seasons. Multiple trade partners can be found among these squads. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, and Pittsburgh Pirates are the three most likely candidates. Each has pieces that could be useful if put in a Braves uniform. So, let’s step into general manager Alex Anthopolous’s shoes for a moment. Three partners, three trade scenarios, and one chance at making the postseason.
The Braves and Diamondbacks
Out of all three potential partners, the Diamondbacks seem the most likely. They’re nearly 40 games below .500 and trending downwards. In this case, a rebuild seems inevitable. The Atlanta Braves have a massive farm system full of terrific prospects. Any one of them would wet the appetite of a team looking to bolster its’ own organization. Considering the fact that Arizona already has one of the top ten systems in baseball, this could be desirable for them. In return, the Diamondbacks have two outfielders that could definitely help the Braves. One is Ketel Marte and the other is David Peralta. Should the Braves swing a deal for either of these players, it would definitely be beneficial for both teams.
For the Braves, garnering a former All-Star like Marte would fill a massive offensive hole. Despite some injuries this season, he’s managed to slash .370/.419/.556 in 37 games. He’s also recorded 50 hits and 13 doubles. Needless to say, many a Braves fan would be delighted to see Marte at Truist Park. Unfortunately, the Diamondbacks have expressed a disinterest in trading him. In light of that, another option would be Peralta. Despite a down year, he does lead the league in triples and is a solid defender. In return for either of these players, the Diamondbacks could land a decent pitching prospect like Kyle Wright or Kyle Muller. Either that, or they could go another route and land a top outfield prospect like Drew Waters. No matter what, it will be very interesting to watch and see if these two teams can tango on the trade market.
The Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles
The second most likely partner would be the Orioles. Down and out in a competitive American League East, they may be looking for prospect help as well. These two have done good business before. The Braves picked up Kevin Gausman midway through 2018, and he had a tremendous impact. They also signed former Oriole Darren O’Day, who bolstered the bullpen for a couple of seasons. In short, it seems that Orioles that have switched to Braves uniforms work magic. The same could be true if the teams are able to work out a deal.
Either Ryan Mountcastle or Trey Mancini would be an improvement for the Braves. Of course, the Braves could also attempt a trade for Cedric Mullins. But, considering the year he’s having, Baltimore may want to build around him. In return for any of these players, the Orioles could expect a fairly solid prospect haul. They already had the fifth best farm system in baseball coming into this season. However, a deal with the Braves could get them over the top, especially with Muller or Waters. For Braves fans, seeing one of the two players in the outfield would be rather refreshing. Mountcastle has experience and has swatted 14 homers. Mancini has a lower batting average, but a higher on-base percentage. For the Braves, plate discipline has been an issue this season. Mancini might not bridge that particular gap well, but he could definitely help. All in all, these two teams definitely have trade potential. It’s simply a matter of the gears turning in the right direction.
The Braves and Pirates
Now, we come to the third and final of the potential trade partners. It certainly has been a down year for the Pirates. However, as with Baltimore, they hold a much improved farm system. A trade with the Braves would benefit that as it continues to trend upward. They also have a solid bullpen, an area where the Braves desperately need help. Only nine teams have a worse bullpen ERA than the Braves. So, any deal that can be made probably should be made. Some of the candidates are very intriguing, but there’s one that tops the list.
Closer Richard Rodriguez should be considered first overall. His 2.43 ERA and 170 ERA+ would definitely help the Braves. He also has a WHIP below 1.00, which would be very refreshing in Atlanta. Another possibility would be right hander Chris Stratton. He holds a 2.96 ERA with a 139 ERA+. These two could act as formidable foes out of the back end of the Braves bullpen. It might work out the same as with Shane Greene and Mark Melancon from the past two seasons. However, if the team is unable to swing a deal for either player, there is a third hope. Former Brave Chasen Shreve might be a solid addition to the relief corps. He’s posted a 2.61 ERA and a 159 ERA+ so far this season. Regardless of who the Braves go after, all would be a major help to the bullpen. In return, the Pirates could land any number of the Braves talented prospects. These two teams have a lot to discuss with each other. It’s simply a matter of waiting and watching for the Atlanta Braves.
Embed from Getty Images
Ketel Marte, David Peralta, Kyle Wright, Kyle Muller, Drew Waters, Kevin Gausman, Darren O’Day, Ryan Mountcastle, Trey Mancini, Cedric Mullins, Richard Rodriguez, Chris Stratton, Shane Greene, Mark Melancon, Chasen Shreve