Ken Rosenthal on how the Braves will replace Ronald Acuña Jr.

MLB: JUN 20 Braves at Phillies

If the Braves offense is going to turn things around, most of the improvements will have to come internally. There are too many All-Star caliber talents severely underperforming. That natural positive regression could come at any moment, but the Braves do now also have substantial room for external improvement following the season-ending injury to Ronald Acuña Jr.

I would expect the Braves to add an outfielder prior to the trade deadline, if not multiple. Alex Anthopoulos could also explore upgrading other positions, like shortstop, or potentially even bolster an already potent pitching staff. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and Anthopoulos has shown us that throughout his tenure as Braves general manager.

However, if you’re expecting a significant addition soon, I advise you not to hold your breath. The trade deadline is two months away, and it’s very rare to see big moves made this early in the season for several reasons. The first being that most clubs still believe they have a shot at the playoffs. Even if those chances are slim, there is no reason to punt on the season this early. Especially when there are likely to be more buyers closer to the trade deadline, which could result in a better return.

There really isn’t a reason any club should trade away a significant piece of their team this early in the year unless they are approached with an offer they simply cannot refuse. But even from the Braves perspective, it’s not necessarily wise to put all of the eggs in one basket right now because the needs could be different a couple of months from now, which Ken Rosenthal notes in his latest piece for The Athletic. 

“Acuña’s injury occurred two months before the deadline, as opposed to three weeks,” Ken Rosenthal writes. “Anthopoulos does not yet know what the team’s needs might be. If a starting pitcher or two gets hurt, Anthopoulos might have little choice but to stick with an outfield of Duvall, Michael Harris II and Jarred Kelenic, and direct the bulk of his resources toward pitching.”

Trade negotiations are constantly ongoing. Alex Anthopoulos has likely had hundreds of conversations surrounding different players across the league, and not just at positions of need. Because, as we’ve seen, needs are ever-changing. Two months ago, nobody would have thought the Braves would be heavily interested in adding some bats to the lineup. Now, it feels more like a necessity.

Thankfully, Anthopoulos doesn’t think like you and me. Even prior to the Acuña injury, he’s already had conversations in preparation for this very moment in case of emergency. That’s why he was able to work magic in 2021 when Acuña went down, and one can expect more of the same this year. We’ll just have to wait a bit closer to the trade deadline, and hope the current group can right the ship until then.

Photo Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire


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