This continues my series of potential trade targets for the Braves, moving onto another left-handed bat in Josh Bell that could solidify Atlanta’s lineup. If you missed any of the previous pieces to this series, follow the links below.
- David Robertson
- Luis Castillo
- Daniel Bard
- Cavan Biggio
- Ian Happ
- Brandon Drury
- Andrew Benintendi
- Rougned Odor
Once Ozzie Albies returns, which should happen by the end of August, the Braves lineup will be as deep as any in baseball. However, there are a couple of weak links that could be improved. Adam Duvall has been awful for most of the season, but his defense will likely keep him in the lineup against lefties. Marcell Ozuna has been equally as putrid. It might be time for the Braves to think about at least platooning him, and Eddie Rosario hasn’t looked great since returning from eye surgery. Acquiring another bat, particularly one from the left side, is looking like a bigger need with each passing day leading up to the trade deadline.
Josh Bell is probably the best and most realistic option. Acquiring him would likely mean Ozuna moving to a bench role, but that could be what’s best for the team if they’re really committed to winning a championship, which I think they are.
Bell is having a season deserving of an All-Star bid. He’s recorded 3.5 WAR and is hitting .311 with 13 homers and an .895 OPS. If Alex Anthopoulos is serious about acquiring a left-handed bat, I don’t think he’ll be able to find a better one than Bell, but there will be no shortage of suitors.
There will likely be a bidding war for Bell’s services, but since he’s a one-year rental, the Braves have enough in their farm system to get a deal done. The other two biggest obstacles to this deal are whether the Braves are willing to completely give up on Marcell Ozuna. For Bell, I think they’d have to think about it, and that’s if the Nationals are even open to moving him within the division. Not every organization is the Marlins. Some teams don’t like trading within the division no matter what, and I have to respect that.
If the price is somewhat reasonable for Bell, the Braves would be foolish not to be seriously interested. He’s a substantial upgrade over Ozuna; however, if the bidding gets too high, it might be smarter to stick with Ozuna and hope he can turn things around in the second half.