It’s January 13th. The Mets have placed a bet in Vegas on themselves, the Nationals have added talent, the Padres are trying to best to dethrone the Dodgers, and the Dodgers are still the Dodgers. No doubt about it, the National League is a frickin’ gauntlet and the Braves are still a top team in the league. Yes, the Braves have already made 2 big moves in the signing of Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly, but we know there’s unfinished business. The Braves need at least 1 more big bat and then some complementary additions. It’d be much easier to find that big bat should Rob Manfred just go ahead and ANNOUNCE THE UNIVERSAL DH ALREADY, but he’s a buffoon pretending to be important and we all have to suffer in his buffoonery.
Until further notice, the “big bat” will have to come via a 3B or a LFer. Luckily there are a lot of players that are either free agents or trade candidates that play these positions, but how many are truly that “big bat” and how much would they cost in free agency or via trade. Let’s take a look.
The Top 50 Bats
If you haven’t looked at Fangraphs top offensive players from 2020 yet, as a Braves fan, you definitely should. Donning the top 2 spots in offensive production are Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna. When discussing “big bat”, I’m looking at the Top 50. For now, I’m assuming there’s no DH so only 3B and OF candidates will be considered. I’m also making a fairly large assumption that teams not in the top half of the league will make their players available at the right cost.
Available via Free Agency or Trade: Ozuna, Ramirez, LeMahieu, Yastrzemski
Available via Free Agency or Trade: Lowe
Available via Free Agency or Trade: Springer, Bogaerts
Available via Free Agency or Trade: Canha, Happ, Candelario, Story
Available via Free Agency or Trade: Realmuto, Adames, Calhoun, Solano, Seager, Anderson, Bradley Jr.
Trade Candidates (with years of control)
Ramirez (3), Yastrzemzki (5), Lowe (6), Bogaerts (6), Canha (1), Happ (3), Candelario (3), Story (1), Adames (4), Calhoun (2), Solano (1), Seager (2), Anderson (3).
MLB Trade Simulator Value for Trade Candidates
Ramirez($72.8MM), Yastrzemski ($58.7MM), Bogaerts ($21.8MM), Canha ($15.1MM), Happ ($28.9MM), Candelario ($19.5MM), Story ($33.7MM), Adames ($38.1MM), Calhoun ($1.4MM), Solano ($0.3MM), Seager ($-9.1MM), Anderson ($32.6MM)
Free Agents and their MLBTR Salary Predictions
Ozuna (4/$72MM), LeMahieu (4/$68MM), Springer (5/$125MM), Realmuto (5/$125MM), Bradley Jr. (2/$16MM).
MLB Trade Simulator Values for Braves Players
To get a sense of who the Braves could trade for and what they could offer, let’s take a look at values for players that could be available via trade. I’ll stop at $5MM.
- Cristian Pache: $69.4MM (no, I don’t think he’s available, but we need to at least list him)
- Drew Waters: $40.9MM
- William Contreras: $20.6MM
- Austin Riley: $19.5MM
- Shea Langeliers: $16.6MM
- Kyle Muller: $12.5MM
- Braden Shewmake: $12.3MM
- Tucker Davidson: $8.3MM
- Michael Harris: $7.6MM
- Kyle Wright: $7.2MM
- Alex Jackson: $7MM
- Bryse Wilson: $6.7MM
- Jared Shuster: $5.3MM
- Jasseel De La Cruz: $5.2MM
Thoughts: As I see it, Drew Waters or Cristian Pache is surplus. It’s highly likely that the Braves stick one of the 2 in CF and the other is trade bait. I think both have talent, but won’t hit enough for a corner OF spot. My money on the person Braves would trade is Waters. I also have a whole lot of faith in Michael Harris so that makes parting with Waters much easier.
Obviously the Braves have surplus in pitching and have 3 studs in Mike Soroka, Max Fried, and Ian Anderson who’ll be in the rotation together for a while. From there though, it’s a collection of talented, but unproven pitchers in Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wright, Tucker Davidson, Kyle Muller, Jasseel De La Cruz, Jared Shuster, and others. However, notice the pitcher that holds most weight on this list is Kyle Muller, who hasn’t made his MLB debut, which verifies the thought that trading players before reaching the majors might be risky, but it might be the right play before exposing their flaws to the best players in the world. My guess is the Braves would be willing to listen on Muller, Davidson, and Wilson as well as others that didn’t make this list such as Sean Newcomb and Touki Toussaint.
What Deals Would You Make?
As you can see, there’s only 2 trade candidate that would cost Drew Waters or Cristian Pache and that is Jose Ramirez and Mike Yastrzemski . If you wanted to stretch this exercise to someone like Matt Chapman, he’d also cost one of the Braves top prospects and then some. As you can see, if a team is willing to deal, the Braves don’t have to sell the farm to grab a good player. Yes, we would all love Jose Ramirez, but someone like Jeimer Candelario might be the better fit should Braves go big for a left fielder.
Using this information, let’s build some deals, shall we?