We are a week removed from the trade deadline, and things haven’t gone well for the Braves since that day. They are 3-5 in their last eight games, with all five losses coming against the Phillies and Mets. That’s not what you like to see after the trade deadline, and it’s not what Braves fans are used to following last year’s trade deadline, when Alex Anthopoulos acquired several critical pieces that would eventually lead Atlanta to a World Series.
It’s far too early to completely bash what Anthopoulos did this time around. I actually liked some of the trades, particularly the acquisition of Raisel Iglesias, who gives the Braves arguably the most complete bullpen in baseball. However, as I mentioned in my way too early grade for the Brave trade deadline piece, I don’t think Anthopolous did enough when it comes to the outfield. It was by far the team’s most glaring need heading into the trade deadline, and their lack of depth in the lineup was a primary reason why they struggled against the Mets and Phillies this past week.
Despite a three-run homer on Wednesday, Marcell Ozuna has been a black hole in the lineup. His only job is to hit, but you wouldn’t know it by his approach. On the season, Ozuna has just a .213 average and .658 OPS. Frankly, I’m not sure he should even be on the roster anymore, but the Braves seem adamant about starting him every night and hoping he snaps out of this funk. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem likely. In his last 150 games, Ozuna has a .655 OPS and 76 OPS+ (100 is league average).
Eddie Rosario hasn’t been much better, either. It looked like he might be turning the corner early last week, but in his last 27 at-bats, he has just four hits. That’s about who he’s been all season, and while an eye injury played a substantial role in his underwhelming play, it feels highly unlikely that he will return to the player he was for the Braves last season.
So who did Anthopoulos add at the trade deadline to avoid sticking those two in the lineup every night? Robbie Grossman… Grossman had his best season last year for the Tigers, smacking 23 homers and recording a .772 OPS. He’s also had a ton of success against left-handed pitching, making him a viable platoon option with Rosario.
However, with Adam Duvall lost for the season, I would argue the Braves needed to add more than just a platoon option. They needed a player that could be relied on to play every day if need be, and Grossman is nowhere near that.
The trade deadline is all about value. Typically, Anthopoulos is fantastic at finding it where nobody else is looking. I imagine he attempted to add more offense, but nothing came to fruition. He’s a lot smarter of a baseball mind than me, but in this case, I believe he will regret not being more aggressive at the trade deadline and adding a starting-caliber outfielder. Now, the Braves can do nothing but pray that Ozuna and Rosario flip a switch and find their groove over the next couple of months.