BS Report: January 15th

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Josh Donaldson is now gone. He’s going back up north, this time to Minnesota. The Braves now know they need another power hitter, whether it’s a third baseman like Donaldson or a corner outfielder. They cannot have catcher Travis D’Arnaud or outfielder Nick Markakis hit fourth behind Freddie Freeman. That won’t work. So, the chances are at least one new offensive player will be acquired at some point. The Braves could go with Johan Camargo. Remember him? He was the starter at third base in 2018 and did really well before being replaced by Donaldson. Camargo failed in his bid to be a super utility player last year with horrible numbers. He could get a shot to regain his spot at third this spring, or the Braves could give Austin Riley another chance. Riley came up last year and tore the cover off the ball, but then pitchers started getting him to chase the curveball and he fell off. It’s doubtful the Braves – a team wanting to win a playoff series in October – would throw Riley out there as the cleanup hitter. If they were still a rebuilding franchise, that would be easier to do – but not when you’re trying to win a World Series trophy. So, chances are the Braves will go get someone. There just happen to be two All-Star third basemen on the trade block – Chicago’s Kris Bryant and Colorado’s Nolan Arenado. Bryant could be a free agent in two years, while Arenado can opt out of his long-term deal in two years, as well. So, if the Braves trade a ton of prospects for either player, they may only have them in Atlanta through next season. It’s a gamble, but well worth it. If the Braves are going to win another division title and even think of winning a World Series, they must spend money to make this team better. Sure, they’ve fixed the bullpen and the rotation should be better with veteran Cole Hamels. But the lineup is still a concern – and it was really even before Donaldson left for the Twins. Now that he is gone, it’s really a problem. They could save their prospects and sign free agent Marcell Ozuna or Nick Castellanos, but both those players are not good defensively – and the Braves rarely bring in players who cannot play defense. Starling Marte’s name has been mention, but it’s not clear if the Pirates will trade him. Arenado is clearly the best option. He’s 28 and in the prime of what could be a Hall of Fame career, but for the Braves to get Arenado they’d have to give up one of their top outfield prospects and one of their top pitching prospects – just to start the conversation. It would be a major trade, and that’s exactly what the Braves need to do. They’ve stockpiled talent in the farm system for several years – for a situation just like this – when they need a significant upgrade. Arenado would be that, as would Bryant. – We’re less than a month from spring training now, and with the Donaldson domino fallen, it’s time for the Braves front office to get to work.