We are less than ten days away from the trade deadline, and it’s still not conclusive whether the Braves will be buyers or sellers this year, but for the sake of this two-part series, we will pretend they are buying and thinking big. I do feel like Alex Anthopoulos will be looking to add leading up to July 31st unless the Braves completely fall apart between now and then. The Mets are an extremely vulnerable first place team, and Atlanta is expecting both Huascar Ynoa and Travis d’Arnaud to return next month. That should be enough to convince the Braves to buy, and they’ll likely have to add at least one impact player if they really want to contend.
A blockbuster trade is possible, so I’ve gone ahead and put together three different scenarios with National League teams. Later, I will release three more featuring American League teams. It’s almost impossible to get any of these close to accurate, but I did my best to address the Braves weaknesses while offering up reasonable returns for opposing teams.
Pirates trade Adam Frazier and Richard Rodriguez to the Braves for Kyle Muller, Jared Shuster, Bryse Wilson, and Trey Harris
It’s time for the the Pirates to cash in on the excellent play of Adam Frazier and Richard Rodriguez. They each have just one more year left remaining on their contracts and are playing the best baseball of their careers. Frazier would slot in perfectly atop the Braves lineup and Rodriguez could be Atlanta’s new closer, bumping every other reliever down an inning. Pittsburgh may be looking for a little bit more than this, but I think this is a pretty fair return. Muller and Wilson are major-league ready arms with loads of potential. Shuster was the Braves first-round selection last year, and Trey Harris is another potential major-league piece. Of course, I would love to steal Bryan Reynolds from the Pirates, but with four more years of control left after this season, that will be nearly impossible to do. This deal is much more realistic and would give the Braves a chance to compete in the National League again this season.
Cubs trade Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel to the Braves for Kyle Muller, Tucker Davidson, and Kyle Wright
If the Braves hadn’t lost Ronald Acuna for the season, this might be something I would consider. However, without Acuna, I don’t see how they could give up a top prospect like Muller for a player that would be a pure rental for the last half of the season. The Braves do have a surplus of major-league ready pitchers, and I do think there are some concerns with Muller because of his control. Still, it’s hard to justify giving up on his upside for a couple of months of Bryant when it might already be a lost season.
Craig Kimbrel makes this more interesting. He’s back to being the most dominant closer in the game. However, his inconsistencies in recent years could scare the Braves away from his contract, as he’s owed $16 million next season. The Braves and Cubs have already done business once this month, so maybe they could strike fire again, but the money and short-term focus of this trade would probably force Anthopoulos to look elsewhere.
Marlins trade Starling Marte to the Braves for Tucker Davidson, Jared Shuster, and Kyle Wright
This may be a slight overpay by the Braves, given Marte is a free agent at the end of the season, but it will probably take an overpay for the Marlins to deal inside their own division. I’m a little more okay with trading for Marte because the Braves would probably have a good chance at locking him up past this season. He has a fantastic relationship with Acuna, Albies, and several other Braves players and could be had at a reasonable cost this offseason. I don’t love giving up Davidson and Shuster, two of Atlanta’s best left-handed pitching prospects, but the Braves will have to part ways with something if they want to land Marte. If the Marlins through in a solid reliever, I would be fine with Anthopoulos pulling the trigger on this trade.
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