The most recent buzz from the rumor mill is that the Braves are eyeing All-Star catcher JT Realmuto, and obviously, they remain alive in the quest for Marcell Ozuna. I’m going to go out on a limb and say they land one of those guys, but if it is not Ozuna, they still need a true power bat in the middle of their lineup (Realmuto, while fantastic, is not that) and a left fielder, so here’s a group of guys that fit that description.
Rosario is a target we’ve mentioned on numerous occasions this offseason. His OBP isn’t ideal, but he makes up for it with his power, as he hit 83 homers from 2017-2019. That’ll play in Atlanta’s offense if Ozuna isn’t back, and he shouldn’t be too pricey to sign.
I was shocked when the Braves decided to non-tender Adam Duvall, but they must not have thought that his power from the 2020 shortened campaign was sustainable over a full season, which is understandable given his track record. Still, the Braves said after letting him go that they would be interested in him at a lower price. I’m not sure that will be possible, but he remains unsigned so there’s a chance.
Pederson had a miserable 2020, but he might be the best player on this list. He smashed 123 homers from 2015-2019, leading to a more than respectable .818 OPS. Pederson’s a streaky hitter, so there’s no reason to put too much weight into an abysmal 60-game stretch. The 29-year-old still has game, and he’d fit nicely in the middle oft Atlanta’s lineup. Plus, you’re stealing a piece from the Dodgers, which is always a plus.
This may be a bit of a stretch. I would hate for the Braves to count on Bruce as their everyday left fielder, but at the very least, he could serve in a platoon role and bench bat. Bruce is only a year removed from hitting 29 homers in just 98 games and has a career .814 OPS against right-handed pitching.
This is another move that wouldn’t be my favorite. Five years ago, maybe, but not now. Not only has Céspedes been injured since 2016, but he also randomly went AWOL last season on the Mets one day and decided to opt-out of the season. That doesn’t seem like the type of player that would fit in the Braves clubhouse. On top of that, he didn’t look particularly good in the eight games he did play, hitting .161 with a .622 OPS.
Everybody’s favorite Brave; I still believe Yasiel Puig would be a fantastic addition to this lineup, and I’ve always wondered why Anthopoulos didn’t give him another chance after he tested positive for COVID, which voided his contract with the Braves. But nobody signed him, so perhaps there is something else that we are not aware of. If there isn’t, I would love to have his career .823 OPS right-handed bat in Atlanta.
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