The Braves aren’t guaranteed to be buyers at the trade deadline, but unless they completely implode during their current road trip, I expect them to add. The Mets have looked the furthest thing from strong, and the Braves will only get healthier as the season wanes. There’s no reason to believe they can’t turn this thing around with 70 games remaining. As of now, the Braves have two glaring needs — a middle of the order bat and relief pitching. For this article, I’ll be focusing on the cream of the crop — guys I believe could really make the Braves World Series contenders again.
I put him at the top for a reason — he’s #1 one on my wish list at this year’s trade deadline. MVP-caliber players, especially ones with years of control left, rarely hit the trade block. The Indians are well aware they won’t be re-signing Ramirez in the future, and they always seem willing to deal their star players if they can replenish their farm system. In terms of prospects, it would take an arm and a leg for the Braves to pull this off, but I would be willing to send the Indians Pache, Waters, and more for Ramirez. He makes the Braves World Series contenders again this season, and World Series favorites in the following two seasons.
Mancini is one of the best stories in baseball, and is a fan favorite in Baltimore. I know the Orioles don’t want to let him go, but it’s probably best for their organization. He is only signed through 2022, and Baltimore is nowhere close to being competitive. Mancini wouldn’t have nearly the type of impact as Ramirez, but he would get the job done without costing the Braves nearly as much prospect capital.
Like Mancini, Rogers has one more year of control remaining, and the Twins will likely be looking to deal their best reliever. Rogers was an All-Star this season and has been one of the best lefty relievers in baseball for years. He’s not the shutdown closer some Braves fans may be looking for, but I’m not sure the Braves really need that. They just need a couple of quality arms with proven track records to take some pressure off guys like A.J. Minter, Luke Jackson, Chris Martin, and Tyler Matzek.
According to reports, the Royals are more open to moving Merrifield now than ever before, and the Braves should be interested. The two-time All-Star is one of the best at getting on base and is on a ridiculously team-friendly contract, two things the Braves should be looking for at this year’s trade deadline. If they strike out on Merrifield, Benintendi is another enticing option that would sure up Atlanta’s outfield situation.
Gallo’s never one to hit for average, but his 72 walks have led to a .386 OBP this year. Combine that with his 24 homers, and Gallo’s OPS is approaching .900. He would be a fantastic addition to the middle of the Braves lineup and comes with another year of control.
Intra-divisional trades are rare, but since Marte is set to become a free-agent at season’s end, this one might actually happen. His ability to get on base would make him a perfect fit at the top of Atlanta’s lineup.
Craig Kimbrel is back to being the most dominant closer in baseball. He’s already record 2.3 WAR for the Cubs this season, thanks to a 0.51 ERA. The $16 million he’s owed this season and next is a bit pricey, but when he’s pitching like this, it’s well worth it. I’m not sure if I see Alex Anthopoulos taking on another contract like that, but what a reunion that would be?
Reynolds has been one of the best players in the National League this season, earning his first trip to the All-Star Game, thanks to a .309 average and 17 homers. There’s not a lot of reason to move him, but if they did want to sell high, now is the perfect time. Reynolds is amid a career year after an awful 2020 and has four years of arbitration remaining after this season. The Pirates could get multiple top prospects for his services. Still, I doubt he will be moved at the trade deadline.
Another All-Star from the Pirates, I find it more likely that Frazier is moved than Reynolds. Frazier leads baseball in hits and is batting .327 on the season. He would be a perfect addition to the top of any lineup. But since he has just one more year of arbitration remaining, the Pirates should be more inclined to deal him.
Rodriguez has been unbelievable as the Pirates closer this season, but you know what bad teams don’t need? Closers. Rodriguez and his 2.65 ERA should be in a new uniform come August 1st.
Marte might be my favorite player on the list outside of Jose Ramirez. He would slot perfectly into the Braves outfield for the next three years, and his versatility would give Alex Anthopoulos a lot of flexibility. Marte can play all over the diamond, hits for a high average, and has shown in the past he’s capable of mashing 30 homers in a season. The Diamondbacks’ asking price would be astronomical, but they should be open to a complete rebuild, given they are currently one of the worst teams Major League Baseball has ever seen.