As fun as some trade targets would be to have on the Atlanta Braves, the likelihood of some them happening are extremely low.
Some trades just are not destined to happen, as much as we will them as fans. Although, with Alex Anthopoulos, anything is possible.
Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals)
Let’s be honest here. No one actually thinks this is going to happen. Sure, on paper it kind of makes sense. Max is a free agent at seasons end. Sure, the Washington Nationals have the worst farm system. Yes, the Nationals are in last place in the National League East. But, there is no way the Nationals would trade Max to the Braves unless they overpaid an extreme amount.
Theoretically this could happen. The Braves and Mets have made trades before. Just because they are rivals is not an end all be all reason. However, if Max does become available, the bidding war for him will be insane. News flash, he is still an elite pitcher.
Jose Berrios (Minnesota Twins)
Okay, so maybe Berrios to the Atlanta Braves may not be impossible, and on paper it would make sense. Berrios is a free agent after 2022 and has performed at a level where he would not cost an arm and a leg. For all the fanfare of his, he has been just above average at 104 ERA+. However, his career ERA is higher than his FIP, suggesting if he was on a better defensive team, he would have better surface numbers.
Something about Berrios leaving the Twins just feels wrong. Picture a fan favorite like Max Fried being traded after his team underperforms 1 year.
The Twins most likely fully expect to contend next year, and it would only make sense that they would want Berrios to be their guy. However, if the Twins do decide to retool, then Berrios may be available. Of course the Braves should kick the tires, but don’t be upset if this does not happen.
John Means (Baltimore Orioles)
The Orioles are bad in a very good division. They will not see the playoffs this year unless a miracle happens. So, of course it makes sense that they would be sellers.
If they were to blow up their roster, it would seem that they could get a king’s ransom for John Means. So far in his career, he has been very good if not excellent, and his trade value has never been higher. After all, Means has almost as much WAR by himself as the entire Braves rotation at 2.6. In 8 games, Means has a miniscule 1.21 ERA, 0.712 WHIP, and has the best hits against per 9 innings in the league at 4.7. Also, his ERA+ is 355, just for what it is worth.
Means track record is obviously not as elite as this current year, but the Orioles would never trade him based on that wit the year he is having.
The Orioles have approximately 37 million dollars coming off the books after this year, and have the 5th ranked farm system. They could obviously expedite their rebuild by bolstering their farm with MLB ready talent. However, when the do decide to compete, they will need building blocks. With Means being under team control through 2024, the probability is high that the Orioles believe John means will be a key piece of their future contenting club.
The Atlanta Braves have options if they do decide to trade for a starting pitcher. As these things often go, we can only speculate what will happen. Hopefully the Braves step it up in time for the trade deadline to actually have meaningful impact on them winning their division in 2021.