After the Atlanta Braves stunning trade with the Oakland A’s the roster is starting to take shape, however a few holes still remain. Shortstop is probably the most glaring hole and as certainly received the most attention. At this point, it looks like the Braves are content to sign Dansby Swanson at the right price or roll with in house options and left field is by far the bigger need looking at last year’s numbers.
Atlanta Braves In-House Options
To say left field was a problem for the Braves last season is an insult to the word problem. Last season the Braves finished 30th in Wins Above Average. For those unaccustomed with the size of the league, that would be last place. The motley crew of Marcell Ozuna, Eddie Rosario, Adam Duvall, Guillermo Heredia, Robbie Grossman, Travis Demeritte, Orlando Arcia, and William Contreras combined for a putrid -3.5 wins Above Average. Atlanta as currently constructed would be projected to again finish last in the majors in overall WAR next season according to FanGraphs. That’s bad enough to legitimately question the choice to spend so much trade capital on the catching position which was seen as an obvious strength heading into the season.
Controllable Trade Options
Despite evidence to the contrary this offseason, money doesn’t appear to be an object for the Braves who stated they don’t see the luxury tax as a barrier to making the team better. That being said, if Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t find a LF option in his price range he has also shown he won’t overpay and may turn to the trade market instead. The Braves don’t have much left in the farm to swing a major trade, but there are low-cost and controllable options Atlanta could trade for that could make an impact in 2023.
Jarred Kelenic: Seattle Mariners
The Mariners made a big splash with the addition of Teoscar Hernandez this offseason and it’s rumored that GM Jerry Dipoto, who never met a trade he didn’t like, is still looking to add another outfielder. That would seem to make former top prospect Jared Kelenic expendable. Kelenic is a bit of a lottery ticket as he’s never had success at the major league level. However, he does come with a significant pedigree of minor league success. Also, the removal of the shift could help Kelenic the way it may help Matt Olson this year. Kelenic was shifted against in a ridiculous 87% of his plate appearances and suffered a .90 drop in his .wOBA as a result.
Jo Adell: Los Angeles Angels
With the addition of Hunter Renfroe, the Angels also have a plethora of options in the outfield. Jo Adell would be an excellent buy low candidate who appears to have a limited path to playing time for Los Angeles. The youngster has tremendous talent but has failed to live up to the billing in extended time in the majors. Over the course of the last three seasons, Adell has hit .215 with 15 home runs and 60 RBIs through 161 games. You can’t deny the physical tools though, and Adell would be a prime candidate to thrive in a new environment and from the tutelage of Kevin Seitzer.
The Entire Arizona Diamondback’s Outfield
Of all the options, this feels like the place the Braves could make the biggest splash. The Diamondbacks have an outfield full of young talent and have received a lot of calls this offseason from rival GMs. Catcher is reportedly one of the areas the Diamondbacks are looking to improve in, and if the Braves are willing to move Travis D’Arnaud they could really add an impact player to the outfield. Alek Thomas, Daulton Varsho, and Jake McCarthy would be excellent additions to the Braves squad and unlike Kelenic and Adell, each has had varying levels of success at the major league level.