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Braves Actively Exploring Trade Market for Outfield Upgrades

As the trade deadline approaches, the Atlanta Braves will be buying, as general manager Alex Anthopoulos always loves to do. With a three-game lead in the National League Wild Card race, Atlanta has several holes to fill before the postseason begins. One thing the Braves absolutely must do is trade for an outfielder (or two), which they are already trying to do.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Braves president of baseball operations is already exploring the market for outfielders. He added that Anthopoulos has been “engaging in preliminary discussions with clubs” in an effort to bolster their outfield. Atlanta brought Eddie Rosario back on a minor league deal after he was released by the Washington Nationals, but more help could be on the way.

With Ronald Acuña Jr. lost for the season and Michael Harris II rehabbing a hamstring strain, Atlanta’s outfield has gotten thin. The Braves have relied on Jarred Kelenic in center field, with Adam Duvall, Ramón Laureano, and Luke Williams flanking him. But going back to when Acuña suffered his season-ending ACL tear, Atlanta outfielders are hitting just .227/.276/.374.

The hope is that Harris will be able to return from the injured list shortly after the All-Star break. He is really the only outfielder on the Braves roster who has consistently proven himself as an everyday player. Kelenic has been a solid replacement, but his track record suggests he might be better suited as a platoon option.

Atlanta Braves Looking to Upgrade Outfield Ahead of Trade Deadline

When the Braves lost Acuña to a season-ending knee injury in 2021, Anthopoulos only had a few weeks to act. He traded for outfielder Joc Pederson and catcher Stephen Vogt. He then acquired outfielders Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario, and Jorge Soler. Rosario and Soler emerged as Atlanta’s postseason heroes during their World Series victory.

With Acuña, Harris, and Kelenic all controllable for a few more seasons, Atlanta’s focus will likely be on shorter-term solutions. But never say never when it comes to Alex Anthopoulos at the deadline.

There are a few teams destined to be sellers, but as more borderline contenders commit to a deadline strategy, more outfielders are expected to become available. Insiders have linked the Braves to pending free agents Lane Thomas (Nationals), Tommy Pham (Chicago White Sox), and Kevin Pillar (Los Angeles Angels). Atlanta has also been linked to controllable outfielders like Brent Rooker (Oakland Athletics), Jazz Chisholm Jr. (Miami Marlins), Taylor Ward (Angels), Cody Bellinger (Chicago Cubs), and Luis Robert Jr. (White Sox).

Shortly after Acuña’s injury, Braves manager Brian Snitker spoke about the collective mindset of the team. “These guys will not panic,” he said. “They will never panic. Three years ago, we lost Acuña, and these guys just kept going.”

Three years ago, they won the World Series without their star right fielder. Now the Braves will try to do it again.


Photo Credit: © Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports


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