The Athletic proposes hypothetical Braves trade for Oakland A’s slugger

Brent Rooker Braves trade targets

The trade deadline is exactly a month away, and the Braves need a lot of help, particularly in the outfield. Michael Harris II shouldn’t be too far away from returning, but Adam Duvall should never step foot in the batter’s box against a right-handed pitcher for the rest of the season, while Forrest Wall and Ramon Laureano cannot be relied upon to start consistently.

The Braves are going to add at least one outfielder and should probably be looking for multiple, just like they did back in 2021, when Alex Anthopoulos swung four separate deals for outfielders ahead of the trade deadline.

Over at The Athletic, Braves beat writer David O’Brien proposed four different trade hypotheticals to Jim Bowden, which I’ll break down individually. The first of which has the Braves going back to the well and swinging yet another trade with the Athletics, acquiring Brent Rooker for a couple of top prospects.

Braves get: OF/DH Brent Rooker

A’s get: RHP Cade Kuehler, OF Luis Guanipa, INF E.J. Exposito

Coming off an All-Star campaign in 2023, Brent Rooker is having another monster campaign out in Oakland, slugging 15 homers in 71 games with an OPS of .841. It’s been a career year to this point in the season, as his OPS+ sits at 143, which is 43% above league average.

Rooker is also on an extremely team-friendly contract, one that extends through the 2027 season. So, not only would he help remedy the Braves’ outfield concerns this year, but he could also help moving forward until Ronald Acuña Jr. is fully healthy and ready to play in the outfield again.

There are concerns about Rooker’s defense. He’s probably best served as a DH, but the Braves should be willing to swallow some of those deficiencies for the massive benefits he offers with the stick compared to their current options. Rooker could also be moved into a more permanent designated hitter role once the Braves move on from Marcell Ozuna, which will probably happen at the end of the 2025 campaign.

This is a pretty hefty return for a player that profiles best as a DH, however. Cade Kuehler was drafted in the second round last year and has been terrific this season for the low-A Augusta Green Jackets, posting a 2.52 ERA over 11 starts. Luis Guanipa is young, but he’s a toolsy outfielder with a ton of projectability, and E.J. Exposito is amid a breakout campaign in High-A Rome.

I certainly wouldn’t hate this trade if Alex Anthopoulos decided to pull the trigger. All three could turn out to be valuable major leaguers one day, but Rooker can help this team win a World Series this year and for the next several seasons to come, patching up the Braves most significant hole. Perhaps it’s a slight overpay for his services, but something like this should definitely be on the Braves radar.

Photographer: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire

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