Braves: Waiting for a blockbuster trade at the deadline is the right move

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The dust has mostly settled regarding MLB free agency. Perhaps Alex Anthopoulos has a move or two up his sleeve, like bringing back Shane Greene, before the start of the season, but I wouldn’t expect anything drastic, especially in the form of a trade.

The Jose Ramirez rumors have gone unsurprisingly silent, and I’m comfortable rolling with Austin Riley to start the 2021 campaign. This will be his first full season in the majors, and I think he can build some momentum going forward on his way to becoming a cornerstone piece of the Braves organization. However, you have to be enthralled with the idea of trading for a guy like Jose Ramirez. Besides being under control until 2024, he is a wizard with the stick and a perennial MVP candidate. That said, the cost to acquire him in a trade would be borderline insane at this point. Prize prospect Drew Waters would undoubtedly be included, along with Austin Riley and other top prospects. It’s tough to stomach that type of loss, which is why waiting until July is the right move.

Alex Anthopoulos is notoriously patient, and for the most part, it works out. While Atlanta may flounder a bit, I think they’re still the class of the NL East. The problems begin and end out west. The Dodgers are an outstanding team once again, and the Padres look primed to break out.

Waiting until July presents a lot of benefits. If Austin Riley finds a groove, then trading for a star third baseman becomes less of a priority. If Ramirez is slumping, perhaps Atlanta looks elsewhere for help or even gets a discount. There’s no doubt that Atlanta can beat the Dodgers as constructed, but adding an impact bat at the deadline could be what puts them over the top. However, first and foremost, the Braves need to really see what they have in Austin Riley.

Riley’s received a lot of unnecessary hate from Braves Country. The expectations for him have been astronomically high for a kid who has yet to play a full season’s worth of games in the majors. Part of that is his fault because of the show he put on when he was first called up, and part of it stems from the expectations fans have of the team. It’s World Series or bust in Atlanta, and anybody who isn’t pulling their weight will receive a lot of flack.

The Braves rightfully should be patient with Riley. He was their #1 prospect for a reason and has shown flashes of greatness. There’s still a chance he turns into a 40 home run guy down the road. Moving him now while his value is at its lowest would be an egregious error. If he struggles over the first few months, then it might be time to start looking for a replacement like Jose Ramirez on the trade block.

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