Clint talked it about it the other day — the trade deadline acquisitions that helped Atlanta clinch the NL East have been even more valuable in the playoffs. Yesterday, Eddie Rosario continued his dominance, smacking four hits, including two home runs. He now leads all NL batters in OPS, and he wasn’t the only one. Adam Duvall also tacked on a home run and Joc Pederson came through in the clutch again with a two-out RBI single. The Braves trade deadline acquisitions have made all the difference in the world, and if Jorge Soler wasn’t out with COVID, he’d probably be just as impactful in this series. However, there’s no way the Braves can keep all of them, so which ones should they retain for next season and beyond?
This one is the biggest no-brainer to me. Pederson completely changed the clubhouse and is a perfect fit in Atlanta. He also has a mutual option for next season. I have a feeling both sides will agree to that, and he will be back for at least one more season, but either way, the Braves need to make sure he’s rocking his pearls at Truist Park next year. I don’t think Pederson should be an every day player; however, with the DH likely making its way to National league next season, he will have plenty of opportunities to contribute throughout the year, and of course, his time will come in the playoffs.
The Braves made a mistake last year by letting Duvall walk over pennies; they can’t make that mistake twice. Duvall led the National League in RBIs and led the team in homers with 37. He might be streaky, but the way he can change the game with one swing of the bat is incredibly valuable, especially when he’s hitting in the bottom part of the lineup. Like Pederson, Duvall has a mutual option; however, unlike Pederson, he will definitely not be opting in. Still, the Braves have control of Duvall, given he has one more year left of arbitration. MLB Trade Rumors projects he is likely to receive around $9.1 million — a figure the Braves should be willing to pay.
The last two on this list are unrestricted free agents. Soler has been absolutely incredible for the Braves since coming over from Kansas City, smacking 14 homers and recording an .882 OPS over 55 games. He is a defensive liability, but with the DH likely coming to the NL, that’s not as big of an issue. However, the Braves can’t bring back everyone, and I have a feeling Soler is the most likely to be left out. A lot of it will depend on money. If one of the other three on this list is offered a lucrative multi-year contract, then Soler could return. But if the other three are willing to accept manageable contracts, Soler will likely be playing elsewhere next season.
Mr. October himself; I have been clamoring for the Braves to sign or trade for Rosario for years now. They finally did it, and now you see why. He’s not the biggest guy on the field, but he packs plenty of pop. This isn’t an enigma either, Rosario has consistently posted an .800+ OPS every season for years now. He’s a real quality player and would be a perfect piece to have on the team next year and beyond.
Thanks for reading about the Braves trade deadline acquisitions. If you liked this piece, check out Jake’s recent article on how Eddie Rosario made postseason history.