3 current Braves that could be moved at the trade deadline

MLB: MAY 09 Red Sox at Braves

The Braves don’t necessarily have to make a splash at the trade deadline. They are already the best team in baseball, and the expectation is reinforcements are coming in the form of Max Fried, Kyle Wright, Dylan Lee, Jesse Chavez, and others. They should only get better without making any moves at all at the trade deadline.

If there is one area I’m hopeful they will bolster, it’s the bullpen. It usually doesn’t cost much in terms of prospect capital, and with four of their top guys on the IL, it seems like a no-brainer to ensure the bullpen is lockdown come October.

However, Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t think like us. He leaves no stone unturned when it comes to upgrading the roster, even if it means upgrading a current strength, just look at what he did this offseason with Sean Murphy. So, here are three current players on the Braves 40-man roster that could be dealt at the trade deadline in a much bigger move than many might anticipate.

Marcell Ozuna

I predicted before the season that Ozuna would have a bounce back campaign, and though he looked like a tomato can for the first month of the season, he’s produced like an All-Star over the last few months. Since May 2nd, Ozuna has hit .285 with 15 homers, good for an .884 OPS.

So, why would the Braves be interested in moving on from the Big Bear?

It really depends on how the Braves view he will perform the rest of the season and next year. Over his last 25 games, Ozuna is hitting .234 with just four homers, resulting in a .684 OPS. If that’s who they expect he’s going to continue to be, moving him while they might be able makes some sense. This would rid the Braves of the remainder of his contract.

Ozuna is owed $16 million this season and has a $1 million buyout for 2025. That’s a lot of financial flexibility opened up, and it would also give more at-bats to¬†Travis d’Arnaud and Sean Murphy, who could serve as the designated hitter. On top of that, the Braves could look to upgrade defensively in left field as well, allowing Rosario to DH against right-handed pitchers. It’s not a move the Braves must make, but it could be worth considering as the trade deadline approaches.

Bryce Elder

Bryce Elder has broken out this season and become an All-Star. His emergence in the rotation is the primary reason why the losses of Max Fried and Kyle Wright haven’t had nearly the effect one would have thought they would initially. He’s doing all of this and is not a free agent until 2029, so it might seem incredibly unlikely that he is traded at the deadline, but there is a world where it could be considered.

The Braves might see the opportunity to upgrade their roster significantly in some capacity, whether it’s adding another All-Star to the rotation, a phenom like Shohei Ohtani, or something else. Given their farm system is one of the worst in baseball, Elder is a young, proven commodity that would interest a ton of selling teams. Might the Braves sell high on him while his value could be at its peak?

AJ Smith-Shawver

Smith-Shawver had a cup of coffee in the majors, and with Kolby Allard going down with another injury, I expect it won’t be long before we see him in Atlanta again. He’s far and away the Braves top prospect, which makes him arguably the best trade chip the Braves have at the trade deadline. If the Braves want to make any type of significant splash, Smith-Shawver might have to be included.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

 

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