It only took 2 days for the needs of the Braves to become clear. On Saturday, July 23rd, Adam Duvall was removed from the game after 2 innings with a sore wrist. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just sore, he tore his tendon sheath (I didn’t even know that was a thing), needed surgery, and will be out for the rest of 2022.
Fast-forward about a 1/2 day and Ian Anderson laid an egg…a real stinky rotten one, giving up 7 runs in 3 innings all the while raising his ERA to 5.31. I wish there were good things, something that I could say to spin it…”Well yeah, he’s been bad on paper this year, but his peripherals…”, but I cannot.
- His K-rate isn’t good.
- His BB-rate isn’t good.
- His entire Statcast Page lives in an igloo, with exception of barrel rate
In every facet of his game, Ian has taken mighty steps back in his development. For Ian’s sake and the Braves, a AAA stint is necessary and it’s absolutely necessary for Ian to find another pitch he can get hitters out on that isn’t his changeup. Go down. Get right. See you in September.
And it would help a lot if the Braves could rely on Eddie Rosario to fill in for Adam Duvall, but he’s been worse in every facet since returning from surgery. It would also be nice to send Ian to AAA and give Kyle Muller another chance at the rotation but the Braves seem hesitant and maybe they know the risk of promoting him to the MLB right before the trade deadline. What’s also interesting is that Muller hasn’t started in 12 days and isn’t currently listed as a starter in any upcoming games. UPDATE: Now we know why.
The Way of Anthopoulos
Last year at the deadline, the Braves landed Joc Pederson, Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler, and Richard Rodriguez and they lost Bryce Ball, Pablo Sandoval, Alex Jackson, Kasey Kalich, Bryse Wilson, and Ricky DeVito. As I type this up, I have to laugh. The Braves will not miss a single one of these players, not this year and not the next. So how did AA acquire them? Simply put, he was willing to pay salaries and was willing to wait out the market.
It’s no secret that AA doesn’t do bidding wars in free agency. If there’s one person that knows that it’s Freddie Freeman. He’ll give an offer and stick with it. It seems as though he operates the same at the trade deadline. 4 of the above 5 trades were made on the last day of the trade deadline. As other teams passed these players for the latest hot name, AA waited and when the teams met his asking price, he pounced. All in all, the Braves took on about $8.5MM in salary.
While the pressure might be on a bit more considering the 2021 season ended with trophy lifting, I can’t imagine that Anthopoulos will go after the shiniest toy. First off, he doesn’t have the prospect capital he once had, and secondly, it’s just not his style. In my head, that means that guys like Luis Castillo, Ian Happ, Josh Bell, Juan Soto, Frankie Montas, and Bryan Reynolds will not lead AA into temptation. However, that could all go away if the Braves are willing to include Ian Anderson into trade conversations. My guess is they are not.
With that little note, here are some of the hitters that I think could attract Anthopoulos:
- Trey Mancini: O’s might not deal, but if they do, Mancini would fit well with the Braves who are in need of RHH OFer.
- Joey Gallo: Gallo is having an awful year, but if the Braves could swap him for Will Smith‘s contract, it would be a nice little low risk move for both parties. Braves would have to even out the $.
- Brandon Drury: Drury is having an outstanding year and the Braves could really use his skillset with Ozzie Albies on the shelf.
- David Peralta: Peralta has always been a fave of mine and is the steady presence that we as Braves fans want Eddie Rosario to be.
- Joey Wendle: Wouldn’t cost much and comes with a mutual option.
- Anthony Santander: Switch-hitter, good hitter, terrible fielder.
- Jorge Soler: A reunion? It’s not as unlikely as you might think. If the Braves wanted to make a bad contract swap, they could do worse than sending Ozuna plus a couple of prospects for Soler. I mean…would you say no?
- Kike Hernandez: On the IL right now, but could resolve a lot of problems. He’s still hitting LHP well and is a heck of a defender. Nice platoon/plug-n-play player.
- Brian Anderson: I’ve always liked the player. He’s not performed up to his standards, but he’s still hitting well against LHP and is a good fielder.
- Tyler Naquin: An ideal platoon partner in the OF if the Braves think that Eddie won’t recover this year.
- Donovan Solano: The dude can hit and plays multiple positions including a HUGE position of need: 2B.
- Tommy Pham: Wouldn’t it be funny to grab Tommy Pham for a playoff stretch a year after picking up Joc Pederson? Tommy’s hitting the ball hard and that’s a good thing.