The trade deadline is almost here, and Braves fans are excited again, hoping this year will be as memorable as the last. Unfortunately, I have some bad news — it won’t. In fact, it won’t even be close. It’s more likely the Braves don’t make a trade at all than acquire the star player you are thinking about in your head right now. And here’s why.
The Braves farm system is toast.
Following the recent graduations of Michael Harris II and Spencer Strider, the Braves now have arguably the worst farm system in baseball. FanGraphs recently ranked it dead last, and whether you believe them or not, there’s no debate that it lacks a lot of high quality talent.
Not only did the Braves farm system lose Harris II and Strider, but they also lost many others in trades over the last year. Atlanta traded a host of prospects away at last season’s deadline, and they sent even more away this past offseason in the deal that landed Matt Olson.
That’s a trade that’s looking better and better by the day. After an up-and-down start to his Braves career, Olson has six homers in his last 13 games, recording a .970 OPS over that span. Since Anthopoulos was able to ink him to a more than reasonable eight-year contract right after trading for him, there’s no reason Braves fans should be upset with the move.
However, simply re-signing Freddie Freeman would have cost Atlanta nothing in terms of prospects. And while the former cornerstone of the franchise backed Anthopoulos into a corner with no good options, it would be nice to have those prospects now heading into the trade deadline.
Cristian Pache may be struggling, but Shea Langeliers could have landed the Braves just about anyone they wanted. Now, I am not saying Alex Anthopoulos made the wrong move. If anyone is at fault here, it’s Freeman. If he wanted to be a Brave, he would be donning a tomahawk across his chest tonight. Freeman had ulterior motives, and the Braves had to make the most of an abysmal situation. Still, it sure would be nice to have some of that extra prospect capital right now. Because while fans are clamoring for guys like Frankie Montas and Luis Castillo, I don’t think the Braves have enough on their farm to make a splash like that happen.