Can this Tiger help the Braves via trade?

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The MLB trade deadline is right around the corner, and it is safe to say the Braves need help if they want to win the division

Atlanta must add to its relief core, but that is not the only hole that needs to be filled. At the time of this writing, the Braves have scored 19% of their total runs in only 6 games. I say that because their run differential, and overall run output, is a bit deceiving.

Starting Almonte and Heredia is not going to cut it. Almonte did well when he first got called up, but he is now is hitting 10% below league average with a 90 adjusted OPS (OPS+) and has been horrendous defensively with a -0.7 defensive WAR (dWAR) and –5 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in only 46 games. For reference, Marcell Ozuna, who is notoriously bad at defense, had a positive 4 DRS in 411.1 innings this year.

The addition of Joc Pederson has obviously helped to some degree, but the Braves could use some more help.

Who should the Atlanta Braves Target?

Let’s review. We’re only looking at realistic trades here. There are endless possibilities, but there are typically three reasons why teams make trades.

  1. Rebuilding: Teams that know they won’t compete may trade their desirable players for prospects to expedite the rebuild process. We’ll be looking for veteran players who can help the Braves win now from these teams.
  2. Contending: Teams that feel they can compete will trade their prospects for players that can help them win now. The Braves currently fall into this category.
  3. Salary Dump: Baseball is a business, and a team in a tight spot financially may be willing to trade a contract they no longer want for financial flexibility. Depending on the scenario, a team could part with a prospect or major-league player for cash considerations.

The clear sellers have become apparent. Teams like the Tigers, Orioles, Rangers, Rockies, and Diamondbacks are obvious ones, and some others like the Cubs have shown that they will sell as well.

Enter Robbie Grossman (Tigers)

Trent Dickeson of Tomahawk Take wrote an article with a great idea regarding a potential trade for Robbie Grossman. Since the Braves’ playoff odds are pretty low (7.2% according to Fangraphs), they should go after players that can help them not only this year but next year as well. Grossman fits this bill. He is not a free agent until 2023 and is on a cheap two-year, 10 million dollar contract.

Grossman is a clear upgrade over Almonte — both with the bat and the glove. He already owns a 2.0 WAR this season, compared to Almonte’s -0.5, and is slashing .228/.354/.413 and has a 117 OPS+ — 27% better than Almonte. He also has 2 DRS in left field in 460 innings.

But he’s a platoon player!

It’s true; Grossman is much better versus left-handed pitchers. He owns a very good slash line of .262/.376/.861, which equates to a 137 OPS+ versus lefties compared to a .214/.345/.383 (105 OPS+) slash line versus righties.

However, there is an unjustified stigma against the term “platoon.” Platoon players do not equal bench players. It just means they are much more effective against certain pitchers. Joc Pederson profiles as a platoon player; Adam Duvall profiles as a platoon player, yet both are valuable at what they provide.

Grossman would most likely play against both lefties and righties this year, much like Pederson, but it would also give the Atlanta Braves options next year as well if they want to deploy a platoon of players at a cheap cost. Pederson is hitting better this year against lefties, but a platoon of Pederson and Grossman would be deadly… and cheap.

For what it is worth, Grossman’s platoon weakness (for lack of better words) is still better than any other left field option the Atlanta Braves currently deploy. Grossman is not a bench player, but Almonte and Arcia very much are.

What would it cost?

Financially, not much. He’s under contract for just $5 million in 2021 and 2022. As far as trade packages go, it could look like the following:

Of course, there are endless trade combinations, but as can be seen, I don’t expect the Braves to part ways with any top prospects for a player like Grossman, who could help them tremendously in the outfield.

What are your thoughts? Comment below who you would trade for Robbie.

Photo: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire

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