The Atlanta Braves are 69-37 and are the favorites to win the 2023 World Series. The last time Atlanta won the fall classic in 2021, it took some major moves at the trade deadline to be in that position.
In a way, the 2021 acquisitions of Joc Pederson, Eddie Rosario, Adam Duvall and Jorge Soler set expectations for many people. There was this belief that Alex Anthopoulos would swing big again at this year's trade deadline since the Braves are in really good shape to play deep into October.
This 2023 Braves team has much different needs than the 2021 squad did. Quite frankly, this team does not have many needs at all.
Going into the deadline, the Braves were rumored to be targeting starting pitching and relief help. Anthopoulos was able to add some relief help but decided to pass on starters. With Max Fried returning to the rotation tomorrow, the Braves feel like the starting rotation is good enough with: Fried, Strider, Morton, Elder and Chirinos.
Let's take a look at the trades AA made in 2023.
Braves acquire Taylor Hearn from Texas Rangers for cash considerations
This trade is a little difficult to grade. Alex Anthopoulos gave away practically nothing to acquire Taylor Hearn. The left-hander had a 10.29 ERA in just 7 innings pitched for the Texas Rangers in 2023. At the time, he had a career ERA of 14.73.
So, why would AA trade for him? Stay tuned and you'll see.
Hearn was given one shot with the Braves and gave up 4 earned runs in just 1/3 of an inning. He leaves behind an ERA of 108.00 as an Atlanta Brave.
Braves acquire Pierce Johnson from Colorado Rockies for RHP Victor Vodnik
The Braves drafted Victor Vodnik in the 14th round of the 2018 draft. Vodnik did not reach Triple-A until the 2022 season. With Gwinnett that season he had a 2.93 ERA 27.2 innings pitched. However, control was an issue and he walked 16 batters over that stretch. Vondik found himself back in Double-A in 2023 before he went to the Rockies.
Pierce Johnson did not have great numbers for the Rockies. He was 1-5 with a 6.00 ERA in 39 innings pitched for Colorado. Even for Coors Field, that is a high ERA.
This trade earns a B- for the time being due to the success we have seen Johnson already have. In a small sample size, he has yet to give up a run in a Braves uniform. Over 4 appearances (3.2 innings pitched), he has allowed 3 hits and struck out 5.
The only reason that this trade does not receive an "A" is because the sample size from Johnson is too small to say these numbers are the norm for the right-hander. Vodnik has been inconsistent in the minors with control being his biggest issue. He is also just 23 years old so it very well may be too early to tell his true potential.