Opinion: JT Realmuto and a blockbuster trade would make the Braves World Series favorites

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If you missed my report earlier today — apparently, Atlanta is making a serious push to sign JT Realmuto. However, what if that’s not all the Braves are planning on? For the past few years, we’ve been waiting for Alex Anthopoulos to pull the trigger on a blockbuster deal, but he has remained patient. That could change this offseason after the Braves finished just a run shy of their first World Series berth since 1999.

Looking at the trade market for marquee stars, it actually fits quite well with the Braves’ needs. There is a bevy of third basemen that should pique Alex Anthopoulos’ interest, such as Matt ChapmanKris BryantNolan Arenado, and Jose Ramirez. Previous reports have suggested that the Braves are fine trusting Austin Riley as their everyday third baseman, and I think he’s shown enough to deserve another shot. Austin Riley is a fantastic young talent that had a great postseason. Still, if the right opportunity presents itself for Anthopoulos to upgrade, he will pounce.

I’ve already discussed the merits of a potential Chapman trade here, but he’s probably the least likely of the four to be dealt, given the A’s should be considered the favorites to win the AL West, and he still has multiple years left on his deal.

Chapman is a fan favorite in Oakland for a good reason. He plays absolute lockdown defense at the hot corner and can mash. He’s coming off of a “down” 2020 in which he hit for an .812 OPS with 10 HRs in 37 games. He’s still just a year removed from his second straight PLATINUM glove, an .848 OPS, and 36 bombs in 156 games.

Regardless, the Braves have a chance to give themselves the most powerful lineup in baseball to go along with one of the most talented pitching staffs if they upgrade at third base. By acquiring a talent such as Jose Ramirez (who is on a very affordable contract) to pair with Realmuto, Atlanta could move Austin Riley to left field. That would give them arguably the most dangerous lineup in baseball. 

To keep things as realistic as possible, Riley would likely have to be involved in a deal for any of these players outside of Kris Bryant. Still, it shouldn’t be that difficult for the Braves to replace him in left field with someone who possesses similar power. Yasiel Puig or Joc Pederson, anyone?

The Dodgers and Padres have not been messing around this offseason, but if I’m in a World Series, I want this lineup over any other in the majors:

 

CF Ronald Acuña Jr

SS Dansby Swanson

1B Freddie Freeman

C JT Realmuto

3B Jose Ramirez

DH Travis d’Arnaud

2B Ozzie Albies

LF Austin Riley/Joc Pederson

CF Cristian Pache

That’s not even getting into the gobs of talent Atlanta has in their farm system, rotation, and bullpen.

This may be far-fetched, but it’s much more doable than people may think, especially if the Braves are seriously considering JT Realmuto. Jose Ramirez is on a team-friendly deal, and Cleveland seems to always be willing to part ways with their top talent for prospects because of their salary restraints. Kris Bryant is also on the last year of his contract, and the Cubs look to be heading towards a rebuild.

It may seem impossible because of the way ownership has spent in the past, but if the trend continues and Liberty Media increases spending again in 2021, money won’t be an issue. It will simply be up to Alex Anthopoulos finding a deal for a star player that makes sense for both the short-term and the long-term. I think it will be discussed this offseason or before this year’s trade deadline. 

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