Atlanta Braves fans everywhere, cringed when they saw Freddie Freeman get hit by an Aaron Loup fastball last month. And I think I speak for most Braves fans when I thought, “there goes our season.”
It’s not like anybody expected the Atlanta Braves to compete for the postseason this year, but when your best player goes down for 10 weeks, it can be pretty demoralizing.
Why Freddie? Why, Braves fans? How are we going to replace his production?
All of these were questions popping into my head. No matter what the Braves did, the season wasn’t going to be salvageable.
So what do the Braves go and do? They trade minor league infielder Juan Yepez to the St. Louis Cardinals for all but forgotten first baseman Matt Adams. The plan was to bridge the gap until Freddie was ready to return.
But now we have a problem
Adams has slashed a robust .308/.360/.654 through 26 games with Atlanta. This includes a cool 32 hits, 9 of which have been home runs, and 25 RBIs.
By the way, this features two multi home run games. And he almost added a three home run game to his résumé against the Marlins on Saturday. Along with the one homer he hit, his two doubles missed by inches off the right field wall.
The issue at hand is, what will the Braves do with Adams once Freddie comes back? If his hot bat continues, you have to think Brian Snitker will try to figure out how to insert him into the lineup regularly.
- John Coppolella could always trade Matt Adams before the July 31st Non-Waiver Trade Deadline. While we’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel from the rebuild as Braves fans, it would be a viable option to trade him while his value is at its highest.
- Play him some at third base. Adams is a more polished hitter than Rio Ruiz and Johan Camargo. But then again, Atlanta might want to let its younger players go through growing pains at the major league level.
- Trade Nick Markakis and get Adams’ feet wet a bit more in the outfield. Markakis could be a potential trade chip as a defensive upgrade in right field for some contending teams.
Adams offers more power and could work on his outfield skills during the offseason. This could build his trade stock next season if the Braves decide to keep him around as he enters his final year of arbitration eligibility.
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I realize there aren’t but a handful of players on the 25 man roster who the Braves see as part of their future, and Matt Adams certainly isn’t one of them.
But why not keep him around for a bit to try and boost their offense some, at least until a prospect is ready?
Maybe a change of scenery is all Matt Adams needed. Or maybe it was an opportunity to show doubters that he can still contribute on the big stage.
Regardless, I think Nick Markakis will be out of Atlanta before long, and Adams is playing too well to be confined to a bench role once Freddie Freeman is healthy.
Either trade him while his value’s high, or figure out where to play him once Freddie returns.