The Braves are undoubtedly going to make a few splashes this offseason. I think they would have last offseason as well, but as we all know, the lockout got in the way of things. Bleacher Report usually has some… interesting trades, but I think this one is solid for both parties.
To ATL: RHP David Bednar
To PIT: OF Jesse Franklin V, RHP Royber Salinas
With Kenley Jansen headed for free agency after saving an NL-high 41 games playing on a one-year, $16 million deal, the Braves will be in the market for some late-inning relief help this offseason.
They could pursue a reunion with Jansen, but the 35-year-old also blew seven saves, so they may prefer a new face in the ninth-inning role.
Right-hander David Bednar nailed down 19 of 23 saves with a 2.61 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 12.0 K/9 in 45 appearances in his first full season as Pittsburgh’s closer, earning an All-Star selection in the process. He is controllable through the 2026 season, and he won’t be arbitration-eligible for the first time until next offseason.
A frontline closer is a luxury for a non-contending Pirates team, and flipping him now might be the best way to maximize his value.
Outfielder Jesse Franklin V has some of the best raw power in the Atlanta system, though he played in just 15 games this year before undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had an .842 OPS with 24 home runs at High-A in 2021.
Flame-thrower Royber Salinas could be the true prize of this trade. Armed with a fastball that touches 98 mph and a wipeout slider, he ranked fourth in the minors this year with 175 strikeouts in 109 innings. He is being developed as a starter for now, but his future is likely at the back of an MLB bullpen, and his arrival aligns better with Pittsburgh’s window of contention.
If you haven’t heard of Royber Salinas, you will soon. I had him clocked in at 8th overall on my recent Braves prospect rankings. The assessment here is pretty spot on.
Although Bednar only threw eight innings in the 2nd half — he was masterful. Bednar put up a 1.13 ERA with three saves in three attempts. He remained on the IL with lower back tightness for a while, but even when healthy, the Pirates didn’t have too many leads. I wouldn’t be surprised if Atlanta looks to make a move for a guy like Bednar, especially if they aren’t comfortable giving Kenley Jansen a multi-year deal. Bednar would be a force in Atlanta’s bullpen with Raisel Iglesias, and although I would prefer another lefty for the Braves — I’ll take a good closer any time. Salinas may end up being a star, but good, controllable pitching like this can be difficult to come by.