The road to August 1st will be one paved with speculation, laden with rumors and breaking news posted along the mile markers. Despite how well the Atlanta Braves have performed in 2023, even they could use trades to improve the team.
As history has shown us, quite literally anything can happen during the trade deadline, seeing the biggest names in the sport suddenly donning new threads at a feverish pace that almost feels like it’s happening in the blink of an eye.
The pseudo-holiday season for baseball fans everywhere has given us some of the biggest trades we’ve witnessed in the game. From CC Sabathia’s departure from Cleveland to Milwaukee to Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo's departure from Chicago, from newly-minted Hall of Famer Fred McGriff’s exodus from California to Atlanta, to Mark McGwire’s arrival to St. Louis. The trade deadline has, at the very least, left all baseball fans vehemently entertained, year after year.
Sitting exactly one week away from the climax of all the action, the Braves have already made some small splashes, adding veteran reliever Pierce Johnson from Colorado in exchange for Tanner Gordon and Victor Vodnik. The club also brought on Taylor Hearn, a southpaw out of Texas, in exchange for cash consideration from the Rangers, per Braves beat writer Mark Bowman.
With two new relievers in tow, who both are expected to occupy tough spots as needed, the Braves enter the next week with plenty of options and a pitching staff ready to be re-bolstered. The 2023 trade block is one of the most loaded we’ve seen in years, as far as raw talent goes, with a proverbial white whale from Japan on the most prominent spot.
While the Braves can and should be seen as prominent buyers leading down the stretch, it should be noted that a mega-swap for two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani is unlikely. The price tag attached to the esteemed import may prove too high for the ever-frugal Anthopoulos, whose small-numbered approach and affinity for younger stars clashes with the potential asking price Anaheim would provide.
That said, the Braves should still be seen as buyers, with one of the vastest trade markets available in recent memory.
So, who should AA be targeting, and why?