The Braves swung a substantial trade on Sunday night, featuring the #6 overall pick from the 2018 draft Jarred Kelenic.
The Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners are in agreement on a trade that will send outfielder Jarred Kelenic, left-hander Marco Gonzales and first baseman Evan White to the Braves in exchange for right-handers Cole Phillips and Jackson Kowar, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 4, 2023
Kelenic was actually originally drafted by the New York Mets, who flipped him when he was one of the best prospects in the game for Edwin Diaz. In hindsight, it looks like a fantastic move for New York. Even though he missed last season with an injury, Diaz has blossomed into arguably the best closer in baseball. Meanwhile, Kelenic was just traded to the Braves in what was essentially a salary dump. Atlanta also took on the contracts of Marco Gonzales and Evan White to facilitate the deal.
However, with how cursed the Mets are as an organization, it certainly feels like this now has a chance to come back and bite them. Kelenic may have never reached his full potential with Seattle, but now he gets a fresh start in Atlanta where he will be surrounded by one of the most talented lineups ever put together. If the Braves can somehow help him turn around his career, he’ll have the opportunity to torment the team that drafted and traded him for the foreseeable future. Kelenic isn’t a free agent until after the 2028 season, and few teams have had more success reviving the careers of players, a lot of which has to do with hitting coach Kevin Seitzer.
Seitzer’s been with the Braves since 2015 and has helped develop the likes of Ronald Acuña Jr, Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies, and the rest of Atlanta’s young core. He was also critical in Orlando Arcia going from an offensive zero to the starting shortstop for the NL All-Star team this year. If anyone can help Kelenic realize his potential, it’s Kevin Seitzer, and former Brave Cameron Maybin believes the fit could be perfect.
I love the Braves and Mariners trade. One thing a lot of you don’t know is Braves hitting coach Kevin Seitzer is a hitting wizard, I’m saying it now Jared Kelenic is going to really take off!
— Cameron Maybin (@CameronMaybin) December 4, 2023
This is the definition of a low-risk, high-reward acquisition for the Braves. At worst, Kelenic can probably provide as much production as Eddie Rosario at a fraction of the price. At best, he could help form one of the most young and talented outfields ever put together. Kelenic, Ronald Acuña Jr, and Michael Harris are all under contract through at least 2028, with the oldest being Acuña at 26 years old.
Photo: Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire