Two blockbuster trade targets from the White Sox that will interest the Braves

Braves White Sox Luis Robert, Garret Crochet

The Braves are going to be very active ahead of this year’s MLB trade deadline. Alex Anthopoulos is always looking to buy, and the team now has major holes to fill with Ronald Acuña Jr. and Spencer Strider out for the season.

The 2021 blueprint is there for the Braves. The roster wasn’t in nearly as good of shape as it is this year, and they were still able to overcome the loss of Acuña for the season and win the World Series, thanks to three key outfield additions — Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, and Eddie Rosario.

All three were veterans on expiring contracts that cost next to no prospect capital in return, and one can expect Alex Anthopoulos will be looking for something similar this time around. However, there’s always the chance he’s thinking much bigger, and a couple of star players from the White Sox appear to be on the table.

“The worst team in baseball is open for business,” Jeff Passan writes in his latest piece for ESPN. “Outfielder Tommy Pham might be the most certain player of any to be dealt, but there are no sacred cows on the South Side.”

Tommy Pham fits the mold of players the Braves targeted in 2021. He’s a veteran on a one-year deal with a track record of success in the postseason, even helping the Diamondbacks to the World Series last year. However, there’s one key difference: Pham’s personality may not exactly jive in Atlanta. He’s a prickly person that has already had two public beefs with former Braves players in Joc Pederson and William Contreras. The fit on the field makes sense; in the clubhouse, I’m not so sure.

Other White Sox players like Michael Kopech and Erick Fredde might pique the interest of Alex Anthopoulos a bit more than Tommy Pham, but this isn’t about those guys. This is about the cream of the crop. The White Sox are arguably the worst team in baseball, and they are open to unloading everybody, even young stars on controllable contracts. A description that most notably fits Luis Robert Jr. and Garrett Crochet.

“Yes, the White Sox are willing to deal center fielder Luis Robert Jr., who is expected to return from a hip injury this week and is signed through 2027,” writes Passan.

Not only did Robert return to the lineup for the White Sox last night, but he blasted a home run in his first game back. From a talent standpoint, Robert is up there with the best in the game. He’s a true five-tool player that can excel in all facets. The only thing that’s held him back is injuries. Robert has only managed to appear in 100 games once over the last four seasons, which came last year, and he’s once again dealt with injuries early this year.

However, that’s a gamble every general manager should be willing to take because of his contract. Luis Robert Jr. is due $12.5 million this year, $15 million next year, and then has two club options worth $20 million each in 2026 and 2027.

That’s nothing for a player of his caliber if he can stay healthy, and the future of the Braves outfield is in question. Nobody is quite sure if Jarred Kelenic is the answer in left field, and who knows what is going to happen with Ronald Acuña Jr. after a second torn ACL. Luis Robert Jr. would cost a ton in terms of prospects, but damn, would he add some life back into the Atlanta lineup and clubhouse.

However, Robert isn’t even the best player the White Sox plan to make available, according to Passan.

“Perhaps most notably, yes, the White Sox are willing to trade left-hander Garrett Crochet, whose conversion from the bullpen to starter has been one of the great success stories of the early season and who is a free agent after the 2026 season. What they seek in return won’t be low, particularly for the 24-year-old Crochet, but as the White Sox’s rebuild kicks into gear, don’t underestimate the willingness of new general manager Chris Getz to tear down even more than he already has.”

I’m not even entirely sure the Braves have the prospect capital left to pull off a trade for Garrett Crochet, but Alex Anthopoulos likely won’t be shy about inquiring about the price tag. Crochet is one of the best young left-handed pitchers in the game of baseball. He owns a 3.49 ERA, 2.87 FIP, 2.48 xFIP, and is striking out close to 34% of the batters he’s faced.

The 26-year-old was a first-round pick back in 2020 and is under contract through the 2026 season. The asking price is going to be astronomical, but the Braves need to be thinking about their starting staff now and in the future. Garret Crochet would give Atlanta undoubtedly the best rotation in baseball and also be an excellent long-term replacement for Max Fried at a fraction of the price.

Photo: John Adams/Icon Sportswire

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