MLB insider gives three trade candidates for the Braves following injury to Ronald Acuña Jr.

Brent Rooker Braves

For now, the Braves are going to ride with what they have at their disposal in an attempt to replace the irreplaceable Ronald Acuña Jr. Jarred Kelenic and Adam Duvall, who were platooning in left field, will now fill the corner outfield spots everyday. However, the overwhelming expectation is that the Braves will look to add another starting caliber outfielder prior to the trade deadline.

That opportunity may not arise for months, but MLB insider Jon Morosi has provided us with three trade candidates for the Braves to keep an eye on — Brent Rooker, Tommy Pham, and Taylor Ward.

All three of these players are on teams that are very unlikely to be in the postseason conversation come the trade deadline.

Alex Anthopoulos could go back to the well and attempt to make another trade with The Athletics for Brent Rooker. He’s undoubtedly the most intriguing of the three candidates Morosi mentioned because not only is he the best, but he’s also under team control for several seasons. Rooker made the AL All-Star team a year ago and went on to blast 30 homers, and he’s been even better this year, recording a .933 OPS over 42 games.

However, for several reasons, I find a potential deal for Rooker unlikely. First and foremost, I’m not sure David Forst wants to have anymore trade conversations with Alex Anthopoulos after what happened with Matt Olson and Sean Murphy. He joked about as much this past offseason.

“I told Alex to lose my number,” Forst joked, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

It probably isn’t totally off the table for that reason, but behind every joke is a little bit of truth, and it’s difficult to ignore how poorly the A’s came out of those two blockbuster trades.

But beyond that, the Athletics aren’t even that bad this season. They aren’t going to contend for the postseason by any means, but they’ve shown some signs of turning the corner and could potentially be competitive while Brent Rooker is still under contract, which brings me to point three.

If the Athletics actually take calls on Rooker, he’s going to be expensive. The Braves don’t have a lot of highly touted prospects, and they probably aren’t interested in dealing the ones that they do. For that reason, I expect them to focus more on trade targets that are on shorter-term deals that won’t require top prospects in return.

Tommy Pham fits that description. He was surprisingly left unsigned for the entire offseason but was eventually picked up by the White Sox, who have no shot of making the postseason, and has played well. In 29 games, Pham has hit over .300 with a few homers. He will almost assuredly be dealt prior to the trade deadline and makes a lot of sense for the Braves.

Taylor Ward is closer to Brent Rooker than he is Tommy Pham; in that he’s a borderline All-Star with multiple years of team control. It won’t be cheap for the Braves to acquire him, but the Angels have to trade him sooner rather than later. They are nowhere close to competing and desperately need to replenish a dormant farm system, making him an intriguing potential target for the Braves.

Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

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