Atlanta Braves: Trade Deadline Pieces If The Braves Retool

Potential Trade Pieces for The Atlanta Braves (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Potential Trade Pieces for The Atlanta Braves (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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The Atlanta Braves are struggling in 2021, and if things do not change in the next month, it could end up being a very long season.

On paper, the Atlanta Braves have a very solid roster. Before the season started, some could have argued that they could have made it to World Series if the cards played right. Unfortunately, none of the cards seem to have played right.

Mike Soroka is done for at least most of the season, Travis d’Arnaud’s season seems to be all but done, Marcell Ozuna is virtually guaranteed to never play another game in an Atlanta Braves uniform, Huascar Ynoa is on the IL for 60 days, just to name a few.

All these misfortunes, mixed with many players just simply not performing at their expected level have resulted in the Atlanta Braves not once having a winning record this season.

There is a chance that the if the season does not turn around in June, and with the Mets continuing to win even with 17 players on the IL, the Atlanta Braves may not be buyers at the trade deadline this season. They have the pieces to turn the season around, but there is a chance they don’t.

The Atlanta Braves are not in a place of a full rebuild needing to happen

There are many core pieces in place for years to come for the Atlanta Braves. With a core of Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, Max Fried, Austin Riley, Ian Anderson, and Mike Soroka (if he can get healthy) under team control for many years to come, the Atlanta Braves will continue have a chance to compete.

With this core in place, and at a very cheap cost, it does not make sense for the front office to do a full breakdown of the roster and fall back into rebuild mode, even if the team ends up having a terrible season.

Retooling the Atlanta Braves roster could be an option

If the Atlanta Braves do not turn things around, it would make sense to do a sort of retooling of the roster. Something similar to what the Yankees did in 2016 when they traded Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs.

Odds are that any trade the Atlanta Braves make in a retool scenario would not be as successful as the aforementioned one, but if the team is not going to win this year, it makes sense to trade players that are not guaranteed to be on the team next year to gain players to help in the future.

It is no secret that Liberty Media is all about the bottom line. Not making the playoffs this year would hurt revenue. However, if trading players this year would result in deeper playoff runs in the future, the return on investment would be well worth it from a financial standpoint.

The Atlanta Braves have quite a few players that could help other teams that make a lot of sense to move now to help in the future. Again, this is if the Atlanta Braves do not turn things around and look like they can make a run at the playoffs.

We will group them in categories of very likely, possible, and probably not going to happen.

Abraham Almonte #34 of the Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Abraham Almonte #34 of the Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

Obviously, the Atlanta Braves are not going to trade every single player that makes sense to move, but here are the most likely for the Braves to at least try to move.

Ehire Adrianza

Adrianza makes a ton of sense to trade here. Teams can always use a dependable utility guy. Adrianza is not the type of guy that is going to put another team over the top, but he is a solid depth option to help competing teams make it through the grind of a long season.

Adrianza is cheap at a pro-rated salary of 1.5 million for 2021 and is a free agent after the year. He has had a down year with -0.3 WAR, but has a history of being above replacement level as a part time player. This is not the type of move that will net a huge gain for the Braves, but if the team can net a lottery ticket type prospect for the future, the Braves should seriously consider it, especially if they are near major league ready.

Abraham Almonte

This is another scenario that is much like Adrianza. Almonte is cheap at a pro-rated 990 thousand dollar contract and will be a free agent at the end of the year. With Almonte now being on the Major League roster and getting some playing time, he could prove to be a solid depth option for a competitive team.

Odds are that Almonte is not the answer as a future Brave. That being said, he also would not net an exciting trade package. However, it would make sense for the Atlanta Braves to take on a lottery ticket type prospect if another team offers one.

Josh Tomlin

Odds are that Tomlin is not going to be on the top any team’s wish list. Let’s be honest, he is having a year to forget with an ERA of 5.68 and -0.1 WAR in 18 games.

However, he does have some things working in his favor that could result in another team swinging a trade for him. Teams are always looking for relief arms.  His walk rate has continued to be extremely low at 4.5%, and his contract is extremely cheap at the pro-rated 1 million for this year.

Another thing going in his favor that is desirable is that he has a club option that the team can exercise next year at a very palatable 1.25 million. This would not be an exciting trade for anyone involved, but it is a likely one.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – MAY 20: Drew Smyly #18 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Truist Park on May 20, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA – MAY 20: Drew Smyly #18 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Truist Park on May 20, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The following trades that the Atlanta Braves could possibly make, are not as likely as the previous, but would potentially net bigger gains.

Shane Greene

Had Shane Greene been with the Atlanta Braves since the start of the season, he would have been in the “very likely” category. But, he has yet to play a game for the major league squad. Not to mention, the Braves waited a long time to finally have him pitch for them.

He has been ramping things up, and if he can show that he has knocked off the rust, he could be a very desirable piece for a competing team. Any team had the ability to sign Greene before the season started, so it would seem odd that he would be listed as desirable trade bait.  However, it is pretty obvious at this point that the reason he had not signed was that he was asking for too much money.

Now that his contract is very palatable for any team at the pro-rated 1.5 million, his trade value has most likely gone up enough for the Atlanta Braves to at least take offers on him.

Drew Smyly

For the first few starts of his tenure with the Atlanta Braves, this one year deal looked like a bust. His trade value was non-existent with that 11 million dollar contract. If this were a list of contracts the Braves wished they could get rid of, Smyly would be on the top of the list with Ozuna.

As every day goes by, his contract would cost less and less for the potential trade partner. Also, outside of that terrible start against Boston, Smyly seemed to have turned things around in May. From May 6th-20th he had 3 starts going 6 innings and giving up 3 runs or less. He also only walked 6 in 18 innings in that span.

If he can continue to trend upward, he may gain enough trade value that would be worth another team to giving the Braves a lottery ticket prospect on top of taking on the salary. Time will tell. Just like with any trade, both teams have to want to make it.

Charlie Morton

Morton is having a down year, there is no denying it. His 4.11 ERA is much worse than the 3.24 ERA, 3.26 FIP, and 130 ERA+ we had become accustomed to from 2017-2019. His contract is not very cheap either with a potential trade partner possibly taking on a pro-rated 15 million. He is also a free agent at the end of the year, so he would be strictly a rental.

However, Morton does have more trade value than any of the previous players mentioned. He has a solid track record, name recognition, and is still serviceable enough to be worth trading for with an ERA+ of 106. It is hard to gauge how teams value post-season experience, but he has plenty of that too.

Obviously, Atlanta Braves fans would hate to see Charlie Morton go. The Braves also would not want to give up a dependable innings eater like Morton, even if they end up being in a scenario where they are virtually guaranteed to not make the playoffs.

However, competing teams always want starting pitching. If a bidding war ends up happening for Morton, and the Braves get a trade package they like, it would be the right business move to make the trade.

Freddie Freeman only has a few months left on his contract. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Freddie Freeman only has a few months left on his contract. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

The following players make sense on paper to trade, but it is just too gut-wrenching to believe that the Atlanta Braves would trade them this year.

Pablo Sandoval

The Atlanta Braves organization and their fans alike have fallen in love with Panda. The team seems to be fueled on Panda hugs. On paper, it would make sense to trade Sandoval if the right package came along. Great clubhouse presence, post-season experience, and obviously a very good pinch hitter.

If a team offered anything of value for a defensively limited pinch hitter, it would make sense for the Atlanta Braves to consider trading him. After on, they do not have much to lose, from a pure statistical standpoint if they are not going to make it to the playoffs.

As much as a trade makes sense to make on paper if anything of value was offered, this trade just seems wrong. The team has had enough go wrong for them this year with injuries, and the hidden personal life of a teammate that the team seemed to love come to light (Ozuna). It is probably safe to say that Alex Anthopoulos and company at least have enough heart to not move the beloved teammate that is known as Panda from the clubhouse.

Freddie Freeman

Reigning MVP, or should we say MVFree, obviously has the most trade value of any player on the Braves that would be considered a rental for another team. Even with his pro-rated 22.359 million dollar salary for 2021, any team would be happy to have him.

Freddie would be much like the Aroldis Chapman deal the Yankees made. The Braves could potentially trade him to the highest bidder, net some serious prospect capitol, and then just re-sign him in the off-season.

In reality, Freeman is not like the Aroldis Chapman scenario. Chapman was not a franchise cornerstone that stuck with the team through a long rebuild, and a fan favorite that has brought joy to a Braves franchise during the dark times of a rebuild, just to cap it off last year with an MVP trophy.

Freddie is in a contract year, as we all know. He has not publically stated it, but he seems to be frustrated that an extension offer has not been made. If the Atlanta Braves traded him, even though it would only be for a few months, it would pretty much guarantee he would not be coming back once he hits free agency next year.

Freddie getting more frustrated is not a risk the Atlanta Braves front office should be willing to take, unless they have already made up their minds that they are not willing to pay him what he is worth.

Next. 8 trade targets to replace Marcell Ozuna. dark

Here is to hoping that the Atlanta Braves turn things around and don’t have to make any of these trades. If they don’t though, expect at least some of these guys to be wearing a different uniform come July 31st 2021.