Yesterday, we said goodbye to an old friend of the site in Bryce Ball. However, the Braves picked up a huge power bat in the form of outfielder Joc Pederson. So, what does this move mean going forward?
Pederson is a pure slugger, and he doesn’t do much outside of that. However, with Marcell Ozuna and Ronald Acuña Jr. both absent, the Braves need an outfield bat with some pop. Heredia, Inciarte, Almonte, and Pache do not provide much of that. Pederson is only hitting .230, but with a .718 OPS, I’m less concerned about that number. Fans may get frustrated with his strikeouts, but when he does connect, he typically puts it in the cheap seats or into the gap.
A Freddie Freeman extension may be on the horizon
I don’t think the Braves would have dealt Bryce Ball if they were not confident that they could get something done with Freddie Freeman. Before the trade yesterday, reports came out that Freeman “isn’t going anywhere”, and now that the Braves officially appear to be buyers, it may be a foregone conclusion. Even before the report, I thought there was no way the Braves dealt Freeman unless he said he was not returning to Atlanta, something he has done the opposite of.
Casual fans may point to Bryce Ball’s numbers, but the organization was obviously very high on him, and the Cubs may see him as their Rizzo replacement in a few seasons.
This won’t be the last move Atlanta makes
I seriously doubt the Braves are going to call it a trade deadline after adding one bat, especially with the needs in the bullpen and on the bench. With injuries decimating Atlanta’s depth and starting lineup, the Braves could make a few more similar moves to add bats and pitching. I’ll be doing articles on some targets, so keep an eye out for those.
The Braves aren’t going down without a fight
Even though they have trailed in the division for all of 2021, the Braves are still within striking distance of the Mets and one game under .500. If Atlanta can patch up their bullpen, strengthen a slumping lineup, and have a few key guys heat up, they will be in the thick of the division race come October.
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