According to Ken Rosenthal, the Brewers are considering a full blown fire sale this offseason following the departure of their manager Craig Counsell to the Cubs. Yesterday, I came up with a couple of trade packages for two of their top starting pitchers that could greatly interest the Braves. If you want to check that out, follow the link below. Today, I’ll be coming up with individual trade packages for three other members of their team that could also fit on the Braves.
Originally, this was going to be a two part series focused solely on the Brewers, but other reports have come out recently regarding some massive names from other teams that are likely to be on the market, so I’ll be moving onto them next.
Braves Receive: Devin Williams
Devin Williams is one of the few relief pitchers worth top prospects in return, especially with two more years of control left on his contract. If the Brewers are planning on going through some sort of mini-rebuild, they don’t have too much use for a shutdown closer, and they should strike while the iron is hot.
Williams finished last year with a 1.53 ERA and 13.3 K/9, saving 36 of his 40 opportunities. Adding him to the Braves roster would give Brian Snitker arguably the best bullpen in baseball after they already re-signed Pierce Johnson and Joe Jimenez. Atlanta’s pitching staff must be bolstered this offseason. Most assume that means they will target a starting pitcher, but there’s more than one way to skin a cat. As we saw in 2021, a lights-out bullpen can help carry an entire staff in October.
If the Braves are going to win the Devin Williams sweepstakes this offseason, they are probably going to have to overpay. I think this is a more than fair offer for a reliever of his caliber with two years of control. AJ Smith-Shawver is a legitimate top-50 prospect with frontline starter potential. I’m not sure the Braves would be willing to part ways with him, but that might be what it takes to land Williams. Schwellenbach is another potential starting arm that isn’t too far away from the majors, so both of these prospects would fit the timeline of a Brewers re-tooling if they plan on competing sooner rather than later.
Braves Receive: Willy Adames
Brewers Receive: J.R. Ritchie and Spencer Schwellenbach
Given Adames is entering the final year of his contract, I’m not sure the Braves would have much interest in acquiring him unless they are willing to hand him a fat contract extension. That seems unlikely with the way they handled Dansby Swanson, but Adames would undoubtedly be a significant upgrade — both offensively and defensively — over Orlando Arcia.
For Adames, I highly doubt the Braves would even consider giving up one of Hurston Waldrep or AJ Smith-Shawver. However, some combination of their next group of prospect pitchers could get the job done. I still think it’s unlikely because of the bargain of a deal Arcia is on and the fact Adames will be a free agent after the 2024 season.
Braves Receive: Christian Yelich, Corbin Burnes, plus cash
This was by far the most difficult trade to draft up, and if you’re not familiar with the situation, you might think the Braves are getting away with highway robbery. But in reality, I’m not even sure they would consider this trade.
Burnes is a superstar, but he only has one more year left of control, which severely diminishes his value. Yelich had a nice bounce back 2023 campaign; however, he’s still far underperforming his contract, which is set to pay him $26 million over the next five seasons. So, while he may be an upgrade over what the Braves have had in left field over the last few years, we are talking about a guy with a .768 OPS since 2020. Yelich’s contract has become one of the worst in baseball, and the Brewers will surely have to attach other great players to him to get rid of it.
I don’t think the Braves have any interest in adding such an abysmal contract to their books, potentially shortening their championship window. Unless the Brewers were willing to eat a large chunk of the deal, this is the trade I like the least.
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