This Braves team is clearly special. When a team is sitting on top of their division with this much hype, it is hard not to make a move. Alex Anthopolous has a history of being the guy who does make a move, but he is still in the process of evaluating all the talent he inherited. This Braves team is built to win in the long-term, and no move that could jeopardize that should be made. The key is to make a move that can help the team this season without overpaying in prospects, and you can best believe Anthopolous will leave no stone unturned in trying to find a suitor.
Enter the Texas Rangers, who made potential Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre available as well as relievers Keone Kela and Jake Diekman. It is no secret that if the Braves were to make a push on the trade market, it would be by adding a third baseman or a relief pitcher. Perfect fit.
Of course, sometimes trades that make too much sense seem to never happen. Beltre does have full trade clause rights, though it would not be surprising if he were interested in joining a contending team as his career winds down. The Rangers are 34-45, well out of the race this season.
Johan Camargo has held his own at the hot corner, enough so that the team was willing to cut Jose Bautista before even giving him much of a shot. However, this Braves lineup is rather young, and lacks playoff experience. A seasoned veteran like Beltre could make them a much more dangerous team come October, and it would give the Braves incredible flexibility having Charlie Culberson and Camargo on the bench. Between the two, they can essentially cover the entire diamond and would give the Braves two super utility options.
The Braves could also look to make a package deal. If the team were to give up any type of significant assets for a bullpen arm, it would make more sense to lock up an arm that is cost-controlled for years. That’s where Texas closer Keone Kela comes in. He is under contract until 2022, so it would be much easier to justify what it would cost to fill this hole. Nevertheless, his price tag may prove to be to expensive.
Jake Diekman could be a much cheaper option though, as he is in the final year of his contract and would be a pure rental. Diekman has been a solid, consistent reliever for years, but his walk issues may scare off the Braves. Regardless, it would be in their best interest to make a deal. the Braves bullpen is solid, but it has been top heavy this season. Sam Freeman is not the same guy he was a year ago, and Peter Moylan has fizzled as the year has gone on. The Braves have a couple internal options who could help out, but Jose Ramirez has dealt with injuries all season and Evan Phillips still has to prove he can contribute at the major league level.
It would be much easier for the Braves to wait until the off-season and allocate the funds hey have opened up to fill these spots, but third base is a temporary fix with Austin Riley on the way, and teams do not find themselves in positions like this often. If the Braves are serious about bringing a title home, these are the two holes that need to be filled to make them the most balanced team possible come playoff time. We will see if Anthopolous wants to roll the dice in his first year as general manager, but if he does, he should give Rangers general manager Jon Daniels a phone call.