5 Braves players who should be on the trade block before Opening Day

While the Braves aren't likely to make any more moves, they do have some players they could trade if the right opportunity presents itself.

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages
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Spring training is underway and the Atlanta Braves are very clearly among baseball's elite teams heading into the 2024 season. The lineup is stacked from top to bottom with reigning NL MVP Ronald Acuna Jr. leading the way and the pitching staff has both elite arms and plenty of depth. You won't find a more complete roster in all of MLB, at least on paper.

That said, there are always ways that the Braves could improve if the need arises. Opportunities to upgrade the roster can pop up or the Braves could opt to cash in on an opportunity to foster more minor league depth with moves with a team that has a pressing need. As a result, it is good to think about who the Braves have in their ranks that could be expendable when it comes to trades.

Are the Braves likely to make a trade before the start of the 2024 season? No, probably not. Again, Atlanta has been busy this offseason already with multiple trades and signings and there isn't really a strong need to get anything done for the moment. However, if the right set of circumstances did come about, here are a few Braves players that could be available on the trade market for the right deal.

Dylan Dodd

Dylan Dodd emerged last spring as an unexpected contender for the Braves' rotation in the wake of Kyle Wright's shoulder issues that ultimately required surgery. While his first look at the big leagues last year didn't go overly well with a 7.60 ERA in 34.1 innings of work, Dodd did show flashes of his potential thanks to a healthy mix of pitches from the left side even as he battled arm soreness and fatigue after his strong showing in spring training.

Right now, Dodd is in a weird spot with regards to his future with the Braves. The team likes him and lefties with multiple quality pitches are tough to come by, but Atlanta has a lot of starting pitching depth that may just be ahead of Dodd in the pecking order now. With Bryce Elder and AJ Smith-Shawver among others on the 40-man roster and Hurston Waldrep, Luis De Avila, and more lurking in the minor leagues, Dodd has become an expendable piece that could appeal to a pitching needy team before the start of 2024. The Braves shouldn't force a deal as last season proved that you can never have enough pitching, but Dodd is a guy that could be on the move for the right price.

Huascar Ynoa

In terms of pure arm talent, Huascar Ynoa is among the best in the Braves' organization. Ynoa exploded onto the scene in the first half of 2021 with that fastball of his and looked like he was on his way to establishing himself as one of the Braves' starters for the foreseeable. Unfortunately, he came back to earth late that season and a series of injuries culminating in Tommy John surgery in 2022 has Ynoa currently on the outside looking in when it comes to a big league roster spot.

Presumably healthy now, the nice thing about Ynoa is that he has the ability to start as well as pitch out of the bullpen. With the Braves' bullpen stacked at the moment and Ynoa's questionable track record in the rotation, the best move may be to move him to a team that wants to add a power arm and get some talent that can build up the low minors back for him. Such a move may only make sense if Ynoa has a good spring, though, as teams will rightly be wary of his injury history until he shows that he is healthy and able to perform.

JP Martinez

Truth be told, there are few position players that the Braves have that should be on the trade market. Atlanta doesn't have a lot of depth behind their everyday guys in their lineup especially after the Braves traded Vaughn Grissom for Chris Sale and those that are in the lineup shouldn't be going anywhere. However, one name that is theoretically possible to move would be JP Martinez.

The Braves traded for Martinez earlier this offseason to provide some insurance for their outfield and he isn't an uninteresting player. While his numbers in the big leagues leave something to be desired, his numbers in the minor leagues were a lot better as he posted a .961 OPS at Triple-A to go along with 38 stolen bases. Unfortunately for Martinez, the Braves already have a couple speedy outfield options in Forrest Wall and Eli White available to them this spring, so Martinez should be made available for the right deal.

Darius Vines

Darius Vines doesn't get the love he deserves as a pitching prospect. While he doesn't throw as hard as you would ideally want, his offspeed and breaking stuff has consistently missed bats and gotten results ever since the Braves drafted him back in 2019. He also had an impressive big league debut in 2023 when he posted a 3.98 ERA in 20.1 innings of work. The guy can just flat out pitch and it wouldn't be surprising if he was a factor in the Braves' spring training competition this year for the last spot in their rotation.

However, if it looks like Vines is going to get be out for the big league roster this spring, Atlanta should strongly consider moving him. He is already 25 years old and doesn't really have the profile of a reliever, so the best value for the Braves may be to move him to a team in need of immediate rotation help if he can't win a job this spring. That said, there are probably guys the Braves should move ahead of him as keeping Vines as insurance against injuries elsewhere on the staff is far from the worst option.

Spencer Schwellenbach

Finally, we come to Spencer Schwellenbach who quietly posted a 2.49 ERA in his first 16 starts as a pro last season. Atlanta was thrilled when Schwellenbach was still available to them in the second round of the 2021 drafted and committed to converting him from a shortstop and reliever to a starting pitcher despite the fact that he had to have Tommy John surgery shortly after being drafted.

Unfortunately, Schwellenbach's progress through the minor leagues has been weirdly slow despite his performance in 2023 as the Braves were not as aggressive with him as they have been with other pitching prospects. His blend of power stuff still has him firmly on the Braves' radar, but their handling of him does suggest that he may be a long-term project in their eyes and other teams may simply value him more highly. If that is the case, including him in a trade if needed should very much be in the cards.

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