June 15, 2024

Due to a series of injuries, the Braves, who initially didn’t appear poised for major activity at this year’s trade deadline, might now become the most active team in the majors. They could use another starting pitcher, but more critically, they need someone to replace the offensive output of Ronald Acuña Jr., who is out for the season with a torn ACL.

The Braves are likely to focus on acquiring outfielders as the trade deadline approaches, similar to their strategy in 2021 when Acuña last tore his ACL, which eventually led to their first World Series win since 1995. However, Alex Anthopoulos is known for unconventional moves. Addressing the Braves’ offensive struggles could involve various strategies, including a blockbuster trade for Toronto’s young star, Bo Bichette.

Zachary D. Rhymer of Bleacher Report recently came up with his top 10 landing spots for the Blue Jays shortstop, and the Braves clocked in at #5. Here was his hypothetical deal:

Trade Proposal: Atlanta gets SS Bo Bichette; Toronto Blue Jays get RHP Hurston Waldrep (Atlanta No. 3, MLB No. 73), SS Nacho Alvarez Jr. (Atlanta No. 7)

This is a fair swap on paper. But since Atlanta stands to lose Max Fried and Charlie Morton from its rotation this winter, it might want to hold on to as many pitching prospects as it can. And Waldrep is a good one, boasting both powerful stuff and improving control.

Bo Bichette: No extension talks with Blue Jays right now | Yardbarker

Acquiring multiple outfielders at the trade deadline won’t require the Braves to give up their top prospects, which is sensible given Acuña’s absence. I anticipate they will do this regardless, but I’ve long believed the Braves need to consider the future of the shortstop position.

Orlando Arcia offers excellent value with elite defensive skills, but his offense is only average and can be inconsistent. While the Braves could continue with Arcia, it’s often wiser to act early on such decisions, especially when the offense needs a boost.

Bo Bichette could be a cornerstone for Atlanta. He’s under contract for $12 million this year and $17 million next year, which is a reasonable price for a two-time All-Star who has consistently ranked in the top 16 in AL MVP voting over the past three years.

Although Bichette is off to a slow start in 2024, his offensive abilities shouldn’t be in doubt. The main concern for the Braves might be his recent defensive struggles, an area where Arcia excels.

If the Braves are confident in Bichette’s defense, this could be an ideal opportunity for Alex Anthopoulos to make a signature move—trade and extend. He successfully did this with Matt Olson and Sean Murphy, and it could be possible with Bichette before the trade deadline.

At 26, the Blue Jays shortstop fits the Braves’ timeline perfectly. While Hurston Waldrep is a promising prospect, pitching is highly unpredictable. There’s no guarantee of his success at the major-league level, and Nacho Alvarez would be expendable if Bichette becomes the Braves’ long-term solution at shortstop.

 

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