As the reigning World Series champions, it’s not a surprise to see a lot of Atlanta Braves trade rumors in 2022.
At last year’s deadline, there was a lot of Braves trade news, and this year might be similar, as Atlanta is hoping to win back-to-back titles. Meanwhile, the Braves are still fighting the Mets in the NL East, so they’ll need some help at the deadline and could be going after some of the top MLB trade candidates.
Braves trade rumors 2022
But with so many Braves trade rumors in 2022, what players will end up being the Braves trade deadline targets?
The answer depends largely on Atlanta’s biggest needs heading into the deadline. Let’s take a closer look at some of the areas the Braves have to address and how those needs will impact the Braves’ trade deadline targets.
The Braves completely overhauled their outfield at the trade deadline last season and could do something similar this year. The good news is that they have Ronald Acuna this year. Despite modest numbers to this point, Acuna should get better during the second half as he gets more comfortable returning from the knee injury that knocked him out last season.
The Braves also have to be thrilled with youngster Michael Harris. However, Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario, and others have all been disappointing. If nothing else, the Braves trade deadline targets should include a new left fielder, although adding a veteran center fielder to back up Harris wouldn’t be a bad insurance policy either.
Needless to say, the Braves will surely monitor Juan Soto now that he’s on the market. Acuna could easily move elsewhere if the Braves somehow acquire Soto, who would solve many of Atlanta’s problems.
Meanwhile, Andrew Benintendi would be a more realistic option, as he’s a true left fielder who’s in the middle of an all-star season. David Peralta of the Diamondbacks could also slot in as Atlanta’s primary left fielder.
Tyler Naquin and Tommy Pham of the Reds are less exciting names, although they could be worth considering. The Braves could also think about Joey Gallo, who the Yankees would surely be willing to trade away and who could benefit from a change of scenery.
There are bound to be plenty of Braves trade rumors in 2022 involving starting pitchers. To be fair, Atlanta’s rotation is in good shape heading down the stretch. Max Fried and Kyle Wright have been outstanding while Spencer Strider has provided an unexpected boost.
But that trio might not be enough to get the job done in the postseason. Both Ian Anderson and Charlie Morton have endured ups and downs, making it fair to question whether Atlanta’s rotation would survive in the playoffs. If Anderson or Morton don’t improve, the Braves could be one frontline starter short of being a World Series contender.
If the Braves can’t get their hands on Castillo, Tyler Mahle is a more affordable alternative while Oakland’s Frankie Montas provides another pitcher with a high upside. There’s also a chance that Martin Perez of the Rangers could be available at the deadline. Perez would just be a rental but a pitcher who’s pitched like a frontline starter this season, giving the Braves exactly what they need.
The Braves know the value of a good bullpen as much as anybody, which is why they may need to address their bullpen before the deadline.
Fortunately, the trio of Kenley Jansen, A.J. Minter, and Will Smith on the back end looks solid. There’s also a lot to like about the way veterans like Jesse Chavez, Collin McHugh, and Darren O’Day have pitched this season. That means the Braves may not need to overspend for a high-end reliever, but a little more depth couldn’t hurt.
In Detroit, Michael Fulmer has impressed this season while Andrew Chafin could give the Braves another lefty to go along with Minter and Smith.
Colorado’s Alex Colome and Daniel Bard are two other relievers who have pitched in big games during their career and would provide quality depth in the Atlanta bullpen. There are plenty of other options available, although the Braves may not want to overspend on a reliever at the deadline when they have other needs to address.
The Braves have to be at least a little concerned about the injury to Ozzie Albies, who is out with a broken foot but should be back later this year.
While options aren’t exactly plentiful, the Braves might consider someone who can play second base and then take on a bench role when Albies is back to full health. The Reds have Brandon Drury and Donovan Solano, who would both fit that description.
Drury, in particular, has had a strong season offensively and is capable of playing multiple positions.
If the Braves wanted to make a surprising splash at the deadline, they could find a DH to supplant Marcell Ozuna, who has 17 homers this year but still has an OPS under .700.
Keep in mind that Ozuna can play left field, opening the door to a full-time DH.
Veteran Nelson Cruz could be available and give Atlanta a little more punch. Oddly enough, Ozuna has struggled the most against left-handed pitchers, so finding a platoon partner may not make sense.
Miguel Andujar, who the Yankees have on the trade block, is also an interesting possibility for Atlanta.