Jim Bowden of The Athletic recently named the top 12 position players most likely on the move come the trade deadline and where they fit best. The Braves were linked to two names — Andrew Benintendi and Adam Frazier.
With the Royals way out of playoff contention, trading Benintendi — who is currently amid one of the better years of his career — is a no-brainer. The Gold Glove outfielder is on pace to accrue 3.0 WAR this season, and while he doesn’t pack much pop in his bat, he knows how to get on base and crushes right-handed pitching.
On the season, Benintendi his hitting .322 with an .819 OPS against righties, which would make him a perfect fit on the Braves roster. He could platoon with Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall when a right-handed pitcher is on the mound, and his style of play could fit into a lineup full of power hitters. Not everybody needs to be able to mash 20+ homers — even if it is a lot more fun that way. Some guys that know how to get on base and play plus-defense in the outfield are just as valuable. The cost — in terms of prospects — also shouldn’t be that ridiculous, with Benintendi being on an expiring contract. This would be an addition that reminds me a lot of the kind of guys Anthopoulos targeted at last year’s deadline.
Here’s what Bowden had to say about the Gold Glove outfielder:
Benintendi won the American League Gold Glove for left fielders last year and should challenge for the award again this year. He ranks in the 65th percentile in Outs Above Average for all outfielders. His batting average dipped below .300 this week, but he’s reaching base at a 36 percent clip. He has figured out his best role: to create traffic at the top of the lineup and prevent runs with his leather. Benintendi is eligible for free agency after the season, and if the Royals aren’t going to be able to re-sign him, they should trade him before the deadline.
I like Benintendi’s fit with the Braves; however, going after him will likely be determined by how Rosario fares in his return. So far, last year’s NLCS MVP looks exponentially better since coming back from eye surgery. If that continues, the need for the Braves to add another left-handed bat that can play the outfield lessens.
Adam Frazier actually might make a little more sense for the Braves because of the injury to Ozzie Albies. As I wrote a couple of days ago, Orlando Arcia has been abysmal at the plate over the last few weeks. The Braves should probably be looking at other options; however, a lot of it will depend on Albies’ health. If he is expected to return right when he is eligible in about five weeks, then acquiring Frazier may not be necessary.
But foot injuries can take a lot of time to recover from. If Albies is expected to miss three-plus months, the Braves must acquire another second base option. Although, I think they can do much better than Frazier, who is having the worst season of his career, hitting just .219 with two homers in 82 games.