With Hector Olivera likely occupying left field next season, the team has to decide how they would like to address the hot corner. Obviously, their options are to address the position via free agency or the trade market. While Adonis Garcia exceeded expectations this past season, I think it’s clear that he is best suited for a bench role. The team will have to find a starter at third, and it could very well be a familiar face.
The Braves have a few trade chips, including outfielders Nick Swisher and Cameron Maybin. Young arms could also be up for grabs as the team seemingly has a surplus of those. The team may look to make a deal to acquire a third baseman using these assets. However, if they choose to go the free agency route, the options are slim pickings. Due to the lack of talent on the open market, many guys, such as David Freese, are due to receive inflated contracts in the neighborhood of eight figures annually. The Braves are unlikely to pay that price tag for a talent such as Freese and I cannot blame them.
The Braves have Rio Ruiz and Austin Riley in their farm system, both of whom are prospects who occupy third base. I personally believe Riley may be the best offensive prospect we have had since Freddie Freeman. The Braves need to find a short-term option to occupy the position until their homegrown talent can be developed. Juan Uribe can be that guy… again.
The Braves gave up little to nothing to acquire Uribe from the Dodgers in late May of last season, and he played great in 46 games with the tomahawk on his chest. He provided excellent defense, hit .285, and was a fan favorite. He was also a great clubhouse presence. Unfortunately, the team opted to move Uribe and Kelly Johnson for mid-tier pitching prospects at the trade deadline. While I think it was smart for them to get a return on one-year veteran contracts, the wheels really fell off for the Braves after that. It’s also no coincidence that once the Mets acquired Uribe and Johnson, they took off en route to a historic season that saw them make a World Series run. Meanwhile, the Braves had a historically bad second half.
Uribe should meet Atlanta’s price point, so long as he still has interest in playing for the team. We did trade him after all, and he may want to play for a contender. He will be 37 at the beginning of next season, and he may want that one World Series ring.
I think the mostly likely scenario is that the Braves make a trade to acquire a third baseman, but Uribe is one of the few options on the free agent market that actually makes sense for the team. His veteran presence, bat and glove make him a valuable short-term asset, with his price tag deflated due to his age.