The trade deadline is a week away, and the Braves will surely be buying, especially following the season-ending injury to Adam Duvall. Expect them to add at least one outfielder, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they patched up a couple of other holes on their roster as well. The Braves could use another starting pitcher with Ian Anderson struggling, and a team can never have enough bullpen arms. Another option at second base could also become a necessity, depending on the progress made by Ozzie Albies.
There are a lot of areas the Braves could improve as they aim to repeat as champions, but unfortunately, their farm system will hamstring Alex Anthopoulos in negotiations. That doesn’t mean significant upgrades can’t be made. The Braves didn’t have to part ways with many highly rated prospects at last year’s trade deadline and look what happened. It just means Alex Anthopoulos will be at a disadvantage compared to other organizations. Thankfully, AA has proven to be a wizard in negotiations.
Several prospects will be on the move in the coming days, and MLB.com recently named the Braves’ best trade chip leading up to the deadline — Freddy Tarnok.
Recently promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett, Tarnok — a third-round Draft pick in 2017 — has been opening eyes with his recent performance. Left-hander Kyle Muller and righty Bryce Elder — the Braves’ top two prospects, according to MLB Pipeline — may garner significant interest, but Tarnok’s stock is rising fast, giving GM Alex Anthopoulos another interesting arm to use in a deal.
As they mention, Tarnok was recently promoted to AAA and is off to a very solid start for the Stripers. Through his first two outings, he owns a 3.38 ERA and 1.03 WHIP.
There’s no questioning the Braves should be open to moving Tarnok ahead of the trade deadline. His value is the highest it’s ever been, and there is currently a log jam of starting pitchers at the top of the system. Moving one or a couple of them for a piece that can help the team win now makes a lot of sense.
Whether Tarnok is the Braves’ best trade chip, I’m not so sure about that. Atlanta is in all-out win-now mode, meaning all prospects should be on the table if it means upgrading the roster. And I would even go a step further and suggests major-league talent is also available as trade bait, like Ian Anderson. The Braves may not have a ton of talent in their system, but young players like Anderson, Vaughn Grissom, and Kyle Muller should be much more attractive to potential trade partners than Tarnok.