MACON, Bibb County (41NBC/WMGT) – The baseball trade deadline is next Tuesday, and the Braves are reportedly one of the more active teams in trade discussions. They are in the playoff hunt, and they are winning earlier than expected in the rebuild.
The evaluation of the prospects is essential in knowing what the Braves have and what they need, and new general manager Alex Anthopoulos continues that process. Anthopoulos has been very patient so far, but he must do something if the Braves are to make the postseason. It’s a bit of a difficult situation. The Braves have a ton of prospects, but they don’t want to give away a young kid who could be a big part of their future. They have to be careful, since most teams that have players to trade will want to take a prospect or two off Atlanta’s hands.
We all know the Braves need a reliever, and there’s little doubt Anthopoulos will get one before next Tuesday. There are plenty of relievers available, so there should be no worry about that. But will Anthopoulos go beyond helping the bullpen? Will he also help the rotation, which has not been as consistent as it was earlier in the year? Will he want to add a bat, especially with Ender Inciarte struggling in center field?
Chris Archer’s name has popped up again as a potential target for the rotation. He’s a reasonably-paid right hander for Tampa Bay and has been on Atlanta’s radar for some time. Nate Evoaldi was just traded to the Red Sox, but his name was out there. They could go after an outfielder, like Baltimore’s Adam Jones or Detroit’s Nick Castellanos. Getting a right-handed hitting outfielder might help out, since Inciarte has struggled against left-handed pitchers.
If the Braves do make a few trades, it will tell us they are, in fact, going for it this season. But at what price? Can they make all these changes without ruining the work that has been done to give Atlanta the best farm system in baseball? Well, it might be difficult, but the Braves have so many prospects that even if they make two or three trades, there will still be more to count on for the future.
It’s hard to not do anything, considering how close the Braves are to the playoffs. It does not look like Washington is going to get on track, so Atlanta and Philadelphia might battle it out for the National League East. And the work done on the trade market by the Braves and Phillies might determine who gets in and who is left out.
Anthopoulos’ patience is to be commended, but the work he does the next few days in the trade market might be his legacy. If he pushes the right buttons and the Braves do something special, he will be commended. If he gives up the wrong prospects, who go on to be stars for another team, no one will forget it.
Anthopoulos was good at this in Toronto, and chances are he will make the right calls. And it could determine if we are watching Braves baseball into the month of October.