Could the Braves add a bat at the trade deadline?

Braves trade deadline

The Atlanta Braves offense finally showed some life in Game 1 of their doubleheader against the Padres, but it still wasn’t enough to earn the victory, as they failed to make timely hits with runners in scoring position. Joe Jimenez deserves a bulk of the blame for the loss — the fourth in a row for the Braves — but he’s the last thing the club should be concerned about moving forward.

Shockingly, Atlanta’s offense has been among the worst in baseball for over a month. Nobody could have expected that coming off a historic 2023 campaign, and while it’s still far too early to panic, it’s fair to wonder if the offense, not the pitching staff, could be the focus of the Braves leading into the trade deadline.

The bulk of Atlanta’s lineup essentially is what it is. The Braves have to hope Ronald Acuña Jr. Matt Olson, and Austin Riley eventually get hot. Marcell Ozuna has been one of the best offensive players in baseball, Sean Murphy is expected to be back soon, and Michael Harris II isn’t going anywhere. There are really only two areas where the Braves could look to upgrade at the trade deadline — shortstop and left field.

Depending on how the next couple of months go, Alex Anthopoulos could feel the club has squeezed everything possible out of Orlando Arcia. He was unbelievable in the first half of last season and was really good to begin this year. Arcia is also a Gold Glove caliber defensive shortstop; it’s tough to find a better bargain at the position. But the reality is he’s a below average offensive player, and when it’s bad, it’s really bad. If the opportunity arises for the Braves at the trade deadline to upgrade at shortstop now and in the future, don’t be shocked if Anthopoulos takes advantage of it.

Anthopoulos might also look long and hard at left field. It’s far too early to call the Jarred Kelenic experiment a failure; it was always going to be a process with him. But as far as this year goes, the Braves might have to find a better option if things continue to trend in this direction. Since April 17th, Kelenic is hitting .161 with a .462 OPS. No amount of defense is going to make up for that.

The Braves could begin to turn to Adam Duvall more often, but to this point, he hasn’t been much better with the stick, hitting just .206 with a .644 OPS in 25 games.

Left field is the spot where I feel the Braves can really add some juice to the lineup prior to the trade deadline. Hopefully, they don’t have to, but there are a lot of guys around the league with pop that can play the outfield and be had for relatively cheap. Just look at what the Braves were able to add in 2021, making moves for Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, and Adam Duvall without giving up any noteworthy prospects.

Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

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