Braves: Two way-too-early trade proposals

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Is it even baseball if there are no wild overreactions to the first few series of the season? After their West Coast trip, the Braves were sitting at 6-8, maybe not quite what fans expected coming off of a World Series, but exactly where the Braves sat this time last year.

Atlanta fans in particular have been spoiled by Alex Anthopoulos and the flurry of deadline trades we’ve come to expect, as well as interesting moves such as the acquisition of Orlando Arcia last year. Despite having a ton of high-end talent, depth is an issue for the Braves, which is something I expect Anthopoulos will be attempting to improve all season with savvy moves. Using Baseball Trade Values, I’m going to explore some intriguing trade options that the Braves could look at to better their roster.

Merrill Kelly

Merrill Kelly is the classic deadline target. The reliable veteran pitcher plays for a rebuilding team that has no shot at the playoffs; the only reason for hesitation on Arizona’s part is that he’s signed through 2024. Kelly could be a hot commodity by summer, especially considering he’s been elite so far this year. The 33-year-old’s stat line in 2022 is quite impressive –15.1 IP, 1 ER, 18 K, and 5 BB. Even more shocking is that Kelly hasn’t surrendered a homer yet. With all the youth in Atlanta’s rotation, it would be nice to have another steady, proven pitcher on the roster. 

Kelly could be tough to acquire, mostly because the Diamondbacks will be looking for the most possible value. Additionally, the D-backs probably wouldn’t be too moved by the Braves’ highly touted outfield prospects. Arizona has two highly rated outfielders of their own in the minors. Their preferred currency will probably be pitching prospects. Names like Muller, Wright, Elder, Strider, and Davidson are definitely off the board; I’d be looking at a guy like Freddy Tarnok. Tarnok is a pitcher with potential, but he’s blocked by other players at the top of the system. Throw in a position player like Luke Waddell, and I think the Diamondbacks would listen. You can view the trade values here.

Tony Kemp

The Athletics have traded off almost their whole team, but there’s still some versatile players on the roster like Tony Kemp. Kemp is a 30-year-old who can play just about anywhere on the diamond. At the plate, he’s not a home run threat, but he’s a patient hitter that can hit the ball to all fields. However, that’s not the point — defense is why he has value. Outfield or infield, Kemp is at the very least a league-average defender and often above average. One point of concern for Atlanta is their lack of bench depth. Kemp can plug any leak in the scenario of an injury, and he’s a useful utility player to have on hand.

At this point, Oakland will trade almost anybody on the team. Giving up Darius Vines, a pitcher with a high floor but low ceiling, and another minor leaguer like Greyson Jenista seems reasonable. Overall, this deal fills a need for the Braves and also gets Oakland some interesting prospects. It makes sense for both teams. You can view the trade values for this one here

Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

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