As expected, the Braves didn’t stand pat leading up to the trade deadline, but it took quite a while before the moves started to roll in. The acquisition of Eddie Rosario got the party started, who was traded for Pablo Sandoval in what was a salary dump by the Indians. Minutes later, Adam Duvall was brought back by Alex Anthopoulos in exchange for Alex Jackson. Then there was silence for about three hours, and as the 4 PM ET deadline passed by, no more deals were announced. However, trades are often made public a little while after they are completed, and the Braves had two more additions on their way — Jorge Soler of the Royals and Richard Rodriguez from the Pirates. Overall, four new faces were added before the deadline, patching up the Braves two most glaring holes, but will it be enough for them to catch the Mets in the division?
Alex Anthopoulos did just about what I expected of him on Friday. Just four games back in a weak division, it would have been foolish not to add. I originally thought he might be in the market for a blockbuster, but after Trea Turner and Max Scherzer were acquired by the Dodgers, I was a lot more pessimistic. However, I did believe Anthopoulos would still address the team’s biggest needs the best he could without parting ways with his top prospects, and that’s exactly how he approached the deadline.
The best player the Braves gave away on Thursday was Bryse Wilson, who was moved in the trade for Richard Rodriguez. I actually really like Wilson and believe he will be a very good major-league pitcher one day. The Pirates should be happy with their haul, but with the way the Braves other young arms started moving ahead of Wilson in the pecking order, it made sense to move on from him. There weren’t going to be a whole lot of opportunities moving forward for him to establish himself at the major-league level. Wilson will have that chance in Pittsburgh.
Outside of Wilson, The Braves only traded away Ricky DeVito, Kasey Kalich, Alex Jackson, and Pablo Sandoval. DeVito and Kalich have some potential as pitching prospects, but it’s far too early to tell whether either of them will even make it to the major-league level. Jackson was never going to have much of an opportunity in Atlanta with Shea Langeliers and William Contreras booming up the system, and Sandoval was on the way out the door if he wasn’t traded. That’s essentially nothing, but you know the old saying — you get what you paid for.
The reinforcements Anthopoulos added aren’t exactly word-beaters. The prize of this trade deadline is Richard Rodriguez, who has a sub-3.00 ERA over his last 200 major-league innings. He can either close or set up for the Braves moving forward, which should take a lot of pressure off the rest of the bullpen. Rodriguez also has two more years of team control. Duvall is a quality addition to the Braves outfield, and he has a mutual option for 2022, but Rosario and Soler are more like lottery tickets than anything. Anthopoulos is hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with one of them. However, at the very least, they can provide outfield depth.
There was nothing flashy about the Braves trade deadline moves, but that’s to be expected after losing a player like Ronald Acuña. It’s hard to justify going all-in when your best player is out for the rest of the year. All I asked of Anthopoulos this July was to give this Braves team a chance. Upgrade the outfield a bit and add a reliever; that’s exactly what he did. These moves give the Braves a fair opportunity to catch the Mets, and once you’re in the playoffs, anything can happen.
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