Bleacher Report predicts this trade between the Braves and Pirates

MLB: JUN 09 Nationals at Braves

If I was a betting man, I’d say that moves are coming for the Braves. Maybe not huge sweeping changes, but something has to give with this roster. The core is in place, but much like last offseason with the acquisition of Sean Murphy, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Braves make a trade. In these MLB Trade Predictions, Bleacher Report has Mitch Keller of the Pirates coming to Atlanta:

Trade Proposal: RHP Mitch Keller acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for RHP AJ Smith-Shawver, RHP Allan Winans, SS Braden Shewmake

The Atlanta Braves have some questions in the starting rotation that will need to be answered this offseason as they gear up for another title push.

Max Fried, Spencer Strider and Bryce Elder will presumably fill three spots on the staff, but Kyle Wright will start the year on the injured list and Charlie Morton turns 40 years old next month and dealt with injury issues down the stretch.

Mitch Keller finished 13-9 with a 4.21 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 210 strikeouts in 194.1 innings while earning his first All-Star selection in a breakout season. The 27-year-old is controllable through 2025, and he would slot into the Atlanta staff as one of the better No. 3 starters in baseball.

I agree with most of this assessment but have issues with part of it. I do think the trade is fair for Pittsburgh, but I’m less sure about Atlanta. It was a tale of two halves for Mitch Keller in 2023. In the first half of the season, Keller did earn an All-Star appearance, but things fell apart in the second half. His ERA was a staggering 5.59 and his WHIP was a 1.435.

At home, Keller went 7-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.056 WHIP over 90 innings. On the road, Keller posted a 5.35 ERA and 1.409 WHIP over 104.1 innings. It’s also worth noting that in his only start at Truist Park, Keller got absolutely crushed, surrendering 12 hits and 8 earned runs over 5 innings when the Pirates visited.

I like the idea of acquiring a big-time starter, but I think the Braves should be fishing in a much bigger pond. Keller wouldn’t be the worst option in the world, but there are some red flags to consider, and A.J. Smith-Shawver is a hell of a price to pay considering Keller’s shortcomings.


Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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