Braves: Two outfield trade candidates to keep an eye on

Braves FanGraphs Andrew

Yesterday, I talked about whether or not it is too early for the Braves to start thinking about trades. We also discussed it extensively on the latest episode of the SportsTalkATL Podcast.

Unless it’s a minor move for outfield help, it will be extremely difficult for Alex Anthopoulos to make a move this early in the season, but eventually, I don’t think the Braves will have a choice but to add another outfielder. So here are two to keep an eye on over the next couple of months leading up to the trade deadline.

Andrew Benintendi

Kansas City was a team that I thought might surprise some people this season, but it’s already become obvious that they are still a couple of years away from competing. They are 14-28 through 42 games and are 12.5 games back of the Twins. They will be sellers at this year’s trade deadline, and they have a couple of pieces that should intrigue competing teams — none more-so than Andrew Benintendi.

Benintendi is actually a guy I thought the Braves might target at last year’s trade deadline, and I’m sure conversations were had, but ultimately, the Royals decided to hang on to him. However, with him set to test unrestricted free agency this upcoming offseason, it’s much more likely that Kansas City fields trade offers, especially considering how well he’s playing currently.

Benintendi has already accumulated 1.4 WAR, thanks to his .327 batting average. He’s exactly what this Braves team needs right now — a guy who can get on base at a high clip (.393 OBP this year) and play elite defense. I would be shocked if he wasn’t one of Alex Anthopoulos’ top targets leading up to the trade deadline, and acquiring him shouldn’t require a king’s ransom in terms of prospects, given Benintendi is on an expiring contract.

Ian Happ

The Cubs fully committed to their rebuild last season, trading Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez prior to the trade deadline. One guy they did hang onto, though, is Ian Happ. That’s probably because he was amid one of the worst offensive seasons of his career and still had a couple of years remaining on his contract.

This year, however, Happ is off to a much more promising start, recording an .806 OPS over 40 games. The Cubs don’t have to trade him; he does have another year of arbitration left on his contract, but it does make some sense for them to do so if they want to get the most value in return while they continue to rebuild. Sliding Happ into the Braves lineup would instantly fix their woes in the outfield and once again give Atlanta one of the most potent lineups in the National League.

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