Braves complete trade with Mariners for Jarred Kelenic

MLB: SEP 20 Mariners at Athletics

Late Sunday night, Jeff Passan dropped a bomb involving the Braves, who made a trade with the Mariners for former 6th overall pick in the 2018 draft Jarred Kelenic along with left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales and first baseman Evan White.

Kelenic is the headliner in this deal that was once one of the hottest prospects in the game. He struggled in his first couple of stints at the major-league level, but he made some substantial strides last season, recording a .759 with 11 homers in his first 90 games before breaking his foot in July.

Kelenic features a ton of raw power and the upside of this acquisition is undeniable. He’ll compete for an opportunity to start in left field, and with the way the Braves typically squeeze the most out of their talent, this has a chance to be a steal for Alex Anthopoulos, especially with Kelenic being under contract through 2028.

Marco Gonzales also gives the Braves more rotation depth. He’s not the frontline starter a lot of fans were hoping Anthopoulos would acquire, and perhaps that still happens before the start of the season, but he can slot into the back of the rotation and eat some innings. Over the last two seasons, the Braves have suffered numerous injuries to their starting pitchers. Having another veteran option as depth can only be viewed as a plus. Gonzales is under contract for $12 million next year and has a $15 million club option for 2025.

Evan White is another former first-round pick, selected 17th overall by the Mariners in 2017. He won a Gold Glove as a rookie back in 2020 but hasn’t shown much ability at the plate, hitting just .165 in 84 major league games. White’s also dealt with a slew of injuries. It’s hard imagining him seeing the field much with Matt Olson in the fold, and he’s owed $7 million next year and $8 million in 2025. We’ll see if he even makes the Braves roster, as the Mariners were clearly hoping just to get his contract off the books.

The Mariners don’t get much in return from the Braves. Jackson Kowar was acquired in the trade that sent Kyle Wright to the Royals. Like a lot of players in this deal with the Mariners, he’s more of a lottery ticket than anything, flashing a big arm that hasn’t yet translated at the major league level.

Cole Phillips is the only prospect of note going to Seattle in this trade. He was taken in the second round of the 2022 draft and has a lot of projectability but is only 20 years old and is coming off Tommy John surgery. It will be a while before he’s ready to contribute at the major-league level.

In terms of prospects, the Braves essentially gave up next to nothing for a player that could be their starting left fielder in 2024 and beyond along with a potential starter at the backend of their rotation. That’s a win on paper, but they did take on a lot of salary in this deal. Hopefully, that doesn’t take them out of the running for something bigger, but there’s no question that the Braves are in a better position today to win than they were yesterday.

Photo: Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire

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