Braves among top landing spots for former MVP ahead of trade deadline

MLB: APR 29 Cubs at Marlins

With the Braves offense continuing to flounder, the trade deadline is the hottest topic.

The obvious areas to upgrade are shortstop and outfield, both of which could use short-term or long-term fixes. Orlando Arcia isn’t a starting-caliber major leaguer, and relying on a 21-year-old Nacho Alvarez doesn’t seem wise. In that same breath, Ronald Acuna Jr. certainly won’t be full-go in 2025, so the outfield could also use more future stability as well.

Alex Anthopoulos is surely scouring over potential trade targets as we speak, and one name that hasn’t come up too often yet could begin to become a popular talking point in the coming weeks is Cody Bellinger.

Will Sammon, Katie Woo and Patrick Mooney of The Athletic described former MVP Cody Bellinger as someone who will “likely become a much-discussed name again near the deadline.”

The Cubs had high expectations coming into the season but currently sit several games under .500 and in last place in the NL Central. Bellinger could certainly see the trade block before the deadline, and the Braves were named one of his top landing spots by Bleacher Report’s Zachary D. Rymer.

7. Atlanta
Record: 46-37, 2nd in NL East
Current Center Fielder and First Baseman: Jarred Kelenic and Matt Olson

Michael Harris II should be back in center field sometime this month, but the wait for Ronald Acuña Jr.’s return will last into 2025. Bellinger would be a heck of a replacement in the interim, so it’s too bad Atlanta also has luxury-tax limitations.

Bellinger would fill one of the Braves corner outfield spots, where he plays very good defense, but it’s his bat that the club needs most of all. Following two abysmal years in Los Angeles, he had a resurgence in his first season in Chicago, finishing 10th in the MVP voting thanks to a 135 OPS+ (35% above league average).

2024 hasn’t treated him as kindly, just a 111 OPS+, but he’s capable of giving the Braves more than that. However, the biggest factor in a potential Braves trade is his contract. He inked a three-year, $80 million deal to rejoin the Cubs but has opt-outs after every season.

Cody Bellinger can opt out of his deal at the end of the season if he’s doing well, or he can stick around for $30 million in 2025. He will then have the same choice in 2026 for another $20 million.

For a Braves club that likes certainty, that doesn’t seem like their cup of tea. However, in that same breath, Bellinger may not have the type of trade value some Cubs fans think.

It’s an intriguing trade scenario, but I don’t see Alex Anthopoulos striking a deal without assurances.

Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire

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