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Three hitters the Braves could look to acquire before the deadline

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Cleveland Guardians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves have one of the strongest offenses in the league that features Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olsen, Austin Riley, Sean Murphy and Ozzie Albies. But, like every great lineup, this Braves team does have a couple of holes in it. The first is the DH spot, which is currently occupied by Marcell Ozuna and the other is left field where Eddie Rosario plays. The Braves will likely look to the trade market to improve those areas as there is no true in-house replacement for either spot. Unfortunately, there isn’t an overly deep group of hitters that will be available for Atlanta to target, but there are a few names that we should keep our eyes on.

Trade #1

Atlanta Braves acquire - Adam Duvall

Boston Red Sox acquire - Roddery Munoz

Honestly, I have zero idea as to what the Red Sox are going to do this deadline, but no matter what I think Adam Duvall will be out the door. Duvall is a name that Braves fans should be rather familiar with seeing as he has played 272 games for them across parts of five seasons. Duvall is not the type of bat who is going to come in and change the complexion of an offense, but he is the type that teams love to acquire in season, which the Braves have already done twice with him in 2018 and 2021. He has five seasons with 15 or more home runs, always sits at around an OPS+ of 95 to 105 and he can play all three outfield positions and play them well seeing as he has a combined +10 outs above average between the 2021 and 2022 seasons. If Rosario continues to struggle the Braves could look to acquire Duvall with the intention of him becoming their starting left fielder. However, if Rosario finds his footing the Braves could look at Duvall as a platoon bat to pair with the lefty Rosario seeing as the Duvall had an OPS of .844 against southpaw's last season.

Trade #2

Atlanta Braves acquire - Amed Rosario

Cleveland Guardians acquire - Ambioris Tavarez

I like this trade for the Braves for a few reasons. The first being, Rosario has a proven track record. He was fantastic for the Guardians last season and has three seasons with an xBA of .267 or higher along with a strikeout rate that is traditionally better than league average.

The second reason I like this trade for the Braves is Rosario carries some versatility with him. I view him as an outfielder for Atlanta as he has graded out as league average defensively in both left and center field, compared to shortstop where he has a career Outs Above Average of -54, but I like the fact that in a pinch he can be moved to shortstop if needed.

On top of that, I think Rosario is a fantastic buy low option. We have seen it in the past were moving a poor defensive shortstop out of short and into a different position or a full time DH role improves their numbers. Gleyber Torres is the most recent and notable example and I think Rosario would have a similar uptick in numbers once removed from short. I understand there is some defensive risk in moving Rosario to left field full time, but there are two things that ease my concern on that front. First being, Eddie Rosario is not a solid defender in his right as he has -6 OAA since the start of the 2022 season. Besides that, he is playing next to one of the best defensive outfields in baseball in Michael Harris ll who will help erase some of his defensive shortcomings on balls hit to left center.

Additionally, the return for Rosario would not be particularly rich. They would be giving up Tavarez who has considerable strikeout/swing and miss concerns with a K rate that is above 50 percent this season. But he is the type of high upside prospect who is years away from the MLB that teams like the Guardians love to acquire.

Trade #3

Atlanta Braves acquire - Tyler O’Neill

St. Louis Cardinals acquire - Victor Vodnik

For me this trade has both the highest ceiling and the lowest floor of any of these three moves. If you were to tell me the Braves acquire O’Neill on July 31st and he only plays a month for the team due to an injury and he plays poorly in that month, I would be completely unsurprised. However, if you told me on the flipside, O’Neill found his 2021 form that saw him hit 32 home runs along with a .912 OPS, I would be equally unsurprised. O’Neill is an upside acquisition, one that if it works, would vault the Braves offense to the next level, if there even is one for them. The sixth-year pro has some bad swing and miss tendencies to his game with a 34.3 percent strikeout rate and a 32.6 percent whiff rate this season. But on the plus side, he makes consistent hard contact with a hard-hit rate of 44.8 percent, has a barrel rate of 13.8 percent and is in the 74th percentile in sprint speed at 28.1 ft/s.

The Braves are giving up a future MLB reliever in Vodnik, but due to consistent command issues throughout his career, he does not have an extremely high ceiling which reduces the risk of this trade significantly. Duvall and Rosario are safe options for this Braves team, but with a roster as talented as this one, they can afford to take a gamble on a player with O’Neill’s ceiling.

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