Around the trade deadline, Braves fans were not feeling too optimistic. The team could not get over .500, and key injuries were starting to pile up. The prize signing of the offseason, Marcell Ozuna, was in a legal battle after a domestic violence incident. While nobody could have seen that coming, one of the key contributors of the 2020 season — Adam Duvall — was with a division rival and torturing the Braves. Atlanta failing to strengthen the bench was coming back to bite them in a big way, and with so many guys hurt, fans questioned if the Braves should do anything massive at the trade deadline. What followed from GM Alex Anthopoulos was nothing short of a master class.
The Braves deadline OF acquisitions of Duvall/Soler/Rosario/Pederson now have 694 PA, roughly a full season’s worth for a single player.
.254/.327/.506, 40 HR, 106 RBI, 2.8 fWAR
Remember that they got all this for Pablo Sandoval, Bryce Ball, Alex Jackson, and Kasey Kalich.
— Matt Chrietzberg (@BravesMattC) September 28, 2021
Arguably, the biggest piece that the Braves lost was Bryce Ball, a first baseman who would be blocked by Freddie Freeman if he is to be extended. I like Kasey Kalich‘s upside, but he’s still a relief arm in Single-A. Alex Jackson has struggled in Miami, and Pablo Sandoval was released by Cleveland after he was acquired. The Braves immediately went on a tear, and that momentum carried them to their fourth straight division title.
The Braves are 35-18 since the trade deadline on July 30th. It hasn’t always been pretty, but the additions to this team absolutely helped put them over the top. Joc Pederson has been credited with bringing a ton of energy, and we all know what he can do whenever the clock turns to October. Jorge Soler has found a new role as a leadoff man, Adam Duvall leads the majors in RBI, and Eddie Rosario has been a hitting machine. The Braves made key moves without mortgaging the future, and they’re set up very nicely in 2022 if they can re-sign some guys and stay healthy. That’s a conversation for a later date, though. As Leo Mazzone would say… all you have to do is go 11-8 and you win the whole thing.
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