As the club heads into May, we are beginning to see the Atlanta Braves roster start to take midseason form.
While it may still be too early to talk about trades, the not-so-impressive first month of the season has left Braves Country scratching its head about the roster we were so excited about coming into 2021.
It’s clear the bullpen doesn’t have the firepower it did in 2020, and third base (while Austin Riley has begun to heat up) remains a question mark for the club.
Of course, no moves can happen unless Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos is willing to part ways with significant prospect capital, which is something he has been historically been reluctant to do during his tenure with the club.
The players listed are players that could be heavily shopped by their respective teams at the deadline, or could emerge as potential pieces to contribute on contending teams.
Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, CHC
At face value, dealing for Bryant makes a ton of sense. The third baseman turned outfielder is the 2016 National League MVP, and is coming off of his worst season of his career in 2020 in which he hit .206 and had just a .644 OPS. Because of this, his value could not be lower.
However to date, Bryant has had quite notably a much-needed bounce back season. He’s hitting .308 and has already surpassed his 2020 homerun total with seven on the year.
Initially, this could prompt the Cubs to move his trade timeline even further ahead. For the past few seasons, Bryant has been at the forefront of trade rumors surrounding the Cubs due to his stalled contract negotiations with the club.
Acquiring Bryant would not only give the Braves a day-one starter to plug in at third base ahead of an inconsistent Austin Riley, but allow for positional flexibility with his ability to play outfield. It also gives the Braves a quality right-handed bench bat assuming Riley is slotted into that spot.
The Cubs signed Bryant to a one-year, $19.5 million contract before the start of this season. Taking on that amount of money seems hefty, but making a move to acquire the slugger could be well worth it down the stretch if the Braves prove to be contenders.
Mychal Givens, RP, COL
The 30-year old right-hander is just what the Braves need to bolster a depleted and rather unimpressive bullpen.
For a team like the Rockies who have no aspirations of contending in the near future, dealing Givens away to bring in young talent would make a ton of sense for the organization moving forward.
The right-hander would be a massive addition to a Braves team that currently ranks 25th in the MLB in bullpen ERA (4.72).
Josh Hader, RP, MIL
For the next few seasons, Hader could be a prime trade candidate to watch.
The left-hander has established himself as one of the most dominant pitchers in the league out of the bullpen, and boasts a career 2.46 ERA over 234.1 innings. Since 2018, Hader ranks first among relivers in K/9 with 15.95 and second in WAR (5.1).
Hader would be an elite arm to bolster the bullpen, and is under team control through the 2023 season.
Of course, his value is at an all-time high. But the Brewers lack young talent, and a small market team such as them will likely not be looking to pay a reliever like Hader what his value entails.
Keep an eye on the Brewers to shop Hader around, especially if the club is out of the playoff picture by July’s trade deadline.