Braves could be interested in multiple Padres up for trade

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When we began the offseason, the Braves had massive holes in left field and at shortstop. Many believed Atlanta would fill them via trade or free agency, and Alex Anthopoulos has done essentially nothing to improve the positions. The deeper we get into the winter, the more likely it is the Braves go into the 2023 campaign with Vaughn Grissom and Orlando Arica at shortstop and Marcell Ozuna and Eddie Rosario at left field, but perhaps there is a way Atlanta can avoid that. According to reports, the Padres are open to discussing trades involving center fielder Trent Grisham and second baseman Ha-Seong Kim.

According to The Athleticthe Padres have downplayed the possibility of trading either player publically, but sources have suggested San Diego would be open to discussing either player in trade scenarios, preferably Grisham. The report also includes that AJ Preller, the Padres GM, acknowledged he’d received inquiries on Grisham and Kim, and both make sense for the Braves.

Kim is the more enticing player of the two and would be an excellent replacement for Dansby Swanson. The Korean native is known as a great clubhouse presence, praised by teammates and coaches. He’s a Gold Glove finalist and is coming off a better offensive season. After struggling in 2021, the KBO star slashed .251/.325/.383 with 11 homers, and 29 doubles, adding 12 stolen bags in 2022. He was thrust into shortstop duty following Fernando Tatis‘ injuries and suspension and did not miss a beat.

Following his move from South Korea, he signed a four-year, $25 million deal with San Diego and is only due $17 million over the next two seasons, including a 2025 mutual option. He’s in his prime years, affordable, and reliable with the stick and in the field. Kim won’t come cheap, and it’s why the Padres would prefer to keep him.

Grisham seems like the easier of the two to pry away and could easily slot over to left field and be an upgrade over Ozuna and Rosario. Or, at the very least, the scenario gives Brian Snitker the flexibility to move Michael Harris II and Ronald Acuna Jr. around. Grisham has three years of team control left and is projected to earn just $2.6 million in his first year of arbitration.

In his first season as a full-time starter, Grisham mashed ten home runs and swiped ten bags while slashing .251/.352/.456 in 59 of 60 games during the shortened 2020 COVID season. Many believed he’d become an elite player at a premium position, but he’s fallen short offensively in recent seasons.

Grisham’s production dipped to league average in 2021 and even further in 2022 when he posted a .184/.284/.341 slash line with 17 homers. But even with those numbers, he’d be an upgrade over what Rosario and Ozuna did last season in left field because of his Gold Glove defense. He’s won the award (twice) in center field and would potentially only be tasked with playing left field. It would easily give the Braves the best defensive outfield in baseball.

However, neither player is going to come without quality prospects in return; there’s no urgency on the Padres’ end. The team is paying stars left and right. With two shoo-in everyday starters at affordable rates, San Diego shouldn’t feel inclined to move either player. Still, the Padres have an excess of versatile position players and a lack of starting pitchers.

The Braves farm system is rather barren. It might be the thinnest in all of baseball, but the club does have pitchers at its disposal. Atlanta has Bryce Elder, Ian Anderson, and Mike Soroka. Still, I’m not sure any or all of them get that deal done. Elder projects as a solid back-of-the-rotation pitcher; Anderson is coming off the worst season of his career but has been lights out in the postseason, and Soroka hasn’t toed the rubber of a major league mound in what feels like forever.

Preller acknowledging teams have inquired about both players makes me feel Alex Anthopoulos has called. The two players could fill potentially massive voids for the Braves, but they won’t come cheap, and AA may not have enough firepower to swing a trade. It makes sense for the Braves, but it might not make a whole lot of sense on the Padres’ end.

Photographer: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

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