Braves: Two blockbuster trades with each division: AL Central

dct21090919 min at cle

This is Part III of the series where I come up with two hypothetical blockbuster trades from each division. Today, we move on to the American League Central, an intriguing division with many potential trade partners. If you missed the first two parts of this series, click the links below.

Cal Quantrill and Franmil Reyes

Truthfully, it’s difficult to ever tell what the Guardians are thinking. They have a roster that is capable of competing, but with Jose Ramirez potentially heading out the door, they could decide to blow the whole thing up and rebuild. In this potential trade, the Braves kill two birds with one stone. They acquire Quantrill, who was stellar for the Guardians last season, recording a 2.89 ERA. He’s also under control for four more seasons. And they also bring in Reyes, who can fill in one of the Braves holes in the outfield while providing plenty of pop in the middle of the order, and he’s under control through 2024.

Braves trade William Contreras, Jared Shuster, Kyle Muller, and Jesse Franklin for Cal Quantrill and Franmil Reyes

The Guardians could use an MLB-ready catcher, and Contreras’ future in Atlanta looks cloudy, to say the least, following the Manny Piña signing. Muller has the potential to be even better than Quantrill, but he might be a year away from being a significant contributor. Ideally, the Braves don’t want to wait that long, given they are right in the middle of their championship window. Shuster was a first-round pick from 2020, and he pitched pretty well for Rome last season, but he’s ways away from contributing at the major-league level. Franklin is probably the player I’m least willing to part ways with from this group. He had a fantastic 2021 season, flashing plenty of power and athleticism, but to get help now, you have to give something up, and it would be worth it for both Quantrill and Reyes.

Andrew Benintendi and Scott Barlow

After overachieving a bit last season, I’m not really sure what the Royals’ plan is going into 2022, but If I were them, I would still be looking a few years down the road. Benintendi is in the final year of his contract, so unless they plan on extending him, getting a decent prospect for him in return and dumping his contract is the best course of action. He would be a nice addition to the Braves outfield. Barlow is the Royals closer and is coming off of a career year. He has three years of arbitration remaining, so Kansas City will probably be hesitant to give him up, but how much do uncompetitive teams really need closers?

Braves trade Kyle Muller and Jared Shuster for Andrew Benintendi and Scott Barlow

With so many young arms in their farm system, the Braves can afford to part ways with a couple in order to win now. Benintendi patches up the outfield this season and allows some of their top prospects to continue developing in the minors for another year. Barlow gives the Braves one of the most formidable bullpens in the league, and he can potentially take over as the closer, especially with Will Smith likely gone after the 2022 season. From the Royals’ perspective, they need starting pitching, and both Muller and Shuster could be quality rotation pieces in the coming years.

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