Trading struggling A-ball slugger Bryce Ball to the Cubs for quasi-proven MLB slugger Joc Pederson has baseball media clamoring that the Braves are buyers, much to their surprise after their sputtering first half and the loss of superstar Ronald Acuña, Jr.

As much as I love to preach on Twitter to go with the optimistic hype, I’m here to tell you that simply isn’t the case. Acquiring Pederson was a PR move at best, at least for now. Fans are appeased and we’re given two more weeks before the trade deadline to figure out whether this team has the mettle to meddle with playoff contention, or whether we need to send Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly to teams who can make better use of their services. But let’s be honest with ourselves. Unless someone’s holding lightning in a bottle, subtracting Acuña and adding Pederson doesn’t turn a sub-.500 Braves team a contender.

But that doesn’t make this a bad move, either. Joc Pederson‘s contract comes with a club option for $10 million in 2022, or a $2.5 million buyout. If he so much as sniffs at being a productive player for the next two months, he’ll make that $10 million in a Braves uniform at least until #13 returns sometime around the 2022 All-Star Break. And if the new CBA results in the designated hitter coming to the National League, then whoever was playing the role of DH becomes added bench depth when Pederson becomes our DH.

Look, I want the Braves to win. Sooner rather than later. if the Braves make the playoffs in 2021, the bottle with the lightning in it hasn’t been found yet, and we have about two weeks to find it before decisions are made that make that call for us.

That said, if this team somehow finds itself above .500 two weeks from now, with the Mets still struggling to separate themselves as clear leaders of the NL East, then maybe that’s all we need to push ourselves to playing meaningful baseball in October.

Braves News

Jonathan Lucroy has been DFA’d…ugh. This move would’ve been a real win if it were to blast Kevan Smith into the sun. Alas, it wasn’t. After getting good production from catching tandems for years, 2021 has been putrid and any help is appreciated.

Braves Lineup

A shakeup! Freddie Freeman slides back to the 3 hole with Joc Pederson taking Ronald Acuna’s spot at the top. Dansby Swanson has hit well of late and gets rewarded. Aside from Kevan Smith, I don’t hate this lineup. Good work, Snit.