The Braves finally made the move we all expected for an established starter and in true Alex Anthopoulos fashion, it was someone that nobody expected: Chris Sale. Trading Vaughn Grissom made a ton of sense going into the offseason, and the writing was on the wall once the team traded for Jared Kelenic. I have to think that a big part of why Sale was the pitcher they went after was simply that they didn’t want to pay for their present rotation using their future rotation, in the form of their highly rated pitching prospects, such as AJ Smith-Shawver and Hurston Waldrep, and even the likes of Owen Murphy and JR Ritchie. Sale may be more of a volatile bet than a Dylan Cease or a Shane Beiber, but injury risk is pretty high for all pitchers and Sale does provide as much single-season upside as just about anyone out there, has the upside of two years of team control in the form of a club option that also mitigates downside. All-in-all, this trade makes a ton of sense for all parties involved. Boston gets a young player who can help them build a contender again, Atlanta gets a veteran starter who has been good or better when healthy to help with their team now and gives up only Grissom, who had no clear path to playing time in the near future. Sale moves to a contender and a very well-run organization, while Grissom gets his opportunity to break into the majors. This is the best kind of trade.
Meanwhile, we wrapped up our season reviews series with the NL MVP himself, Ronald Acuna Jr. and potentially the organizational top prospect, AJ Smith-Shawver.
Demetrius reviewed Ronald Acuna’s historically epic 2023 season.
Ivan took a fascinating look at top prospect AJ Smith-Shawver’s breakout season.
MLB Pipeline highlighted a prospect’s stat for each organization in 2023.