Braves: Trade targets that are likely to be available come the trade deadline

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Jim Bowden of The Athletic recently wrote an article where he discussed the eight teams he believes will absolutely be selling at the deadline and the trade candidates they possess. The trade deadline saved the Braves’ season last year, and Alex Anthopoulos will assuredly be active once again late this July. Here are some names from Bowden’s list to keep an eye on.

Trey Mancini

The Orioles are still rebuilding, so cashing in on Mancini, who is having a fantastic season in the final year of his deal, makes sense. He can play in the corner outfield, first base, or DH. However, I’m not 100 percent sure the Orioles are sold on dealing Mancini. He’s one of their leaders in the clubhouse, so they won’t be settling for any lowball offers. Fortunately for Baltimore, there will be plenty of suitors.

Jorge Lopez

Depending on how things work out in the health department, the Braves could be in the market for a reliever before the trade deadline. Lopez should be someone who interests them. He has two years remaining on his contract after this season and has been lights out for the Orioles in 2022 to the tune of a 1.00 ERA over 27 innings.

Ian Happ

Happ is a player I talked about the Braves having interest in a couple of weeks ago. With a year on his contract, the Cubs don’t have to move him, but they should be willing to listen on all of their veterans. Happ would be a huge upgrade to the Braves outfield.

Luis Castillo

The Reds should be selling Castillo before the trade deadline, and while I don’t think the Braves need another starting pitcher, acquiring a talent like Castillo, who has another year remaining on his contract after this season, should interest every competing team in baseball. If Atlanta chooses to upgrade their rotation at the deadline, it will be with a bang.

Gregory Soto

Soto has converted 10 of his 11 saves for the Tigers and owns a 1.89 ERA. He also has three years of team control after this season. For those reasons, he’s going to be tough to pry away from the Tigers, who aim to be competitive in the coming years. However, they could view this as a sell-high situation and get as much as they can for him from a desperate team at the deadline.

Andrew Benintendi

With Michael Harris prospering early on in his major-league career, the need for an outfielder is reduced considerably… for now. But if Harris begins to struggle, the Braves must add to the group, and Benintendi is one of my favorite options. He’s hitting .321 on the season and plays Gold Glove defense. He also shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg in terms of prospects, given he is on the final year of his contract. I love his fit in Atlanta.

Whit Merrifield

At any point over the last three seasons, the Royals could have sold Whit Merrifield for an embarrassing amount of prospects. Unfortunately for them, they decided to hang on, and now he’s amid the worst season of his career by a wide margin. With that being said, I wouldn’t mind trying to steal him at a lower price while he’s struggling.

Frankie Montas

With the fire sale that went on in Oakland this offseason, I was pretty shocked Montas didn’t start the year in another uniform, but he should surely be on his way out of town before the trade deadline. He’s enjoying another super steady season, posting a 3.06 ERA and 3.12 FIP. The extra year remaining on his contract should also provide suitors with a little more incentive to acquire him.

Bryan Reynolds

It’s looking like the Pirates made a mistake by not trading Reynolds this past offseason when his value was in the sky, but they will still get plenty of interest on the All-Star center fielder if they make him available. I imagine the Braves will be among the inquiring parties. They’ve shown plenty of interest in Reynolds in the past, but no deal has come to fruition.

David Bednar

You would never know it because he plays for the Pirates, but David Bednar has turned into one of the best relievers in baseball. He’s sporting a minuscule 1.33 ERA this season and has 10 saves in 11 chances. He also comes with FOUR more years of affordable team control. That means Bednar will be expensive in terms of prospects, but there will be no shortage of suitors if the Pirates make him seriously available.

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