We are now six weeks away from the trade deadline, which falls on August 1 this year. The Braves have a number of veterans on the roster who could be traded, which could dramatically impact the roster in the final two months of the season.
First let's look at the veterans who could be traded. The list includes pitchers Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, Alexi Ogando, Jim Johnson, Eric O'Flaherty and Bud Norris. That's six members of the pitching staff.
Then there are the position players, including Erick Aybar, Jeff Francoeur, Nick Markakis, A.J. Pierzynski and if he proves he's healthy, Gordon Beckham.
That's 11 players, including two currently on the disabled list (O'Flaherty and Beckham).
So let's just assume for this exercise that all 11 of these players are traded. That is unlikely, but a majority of them could be dealt away.
What will the Braves do then? What might the roster look like if close to 10 players are traded? And again, while it's unlikely this many will be sent packing, it's interesting to see who the Braves have as options if deals are made. Of course, there could be players coming back in the deals who could provide immediate help, but let's just think of the internal options.
If Teheran is traded, the Braves obviously will lose their best starting pitcher. Norris is in the rotation now, but it's only because Mike Foltynewicz and Williams Perez are on the disabled list. With Teheran and Norris both possibly gone, the Braves will need Folty and Norris back in the rotation. That would leave Matt Wisler, Aaron Blair, Foltynewicz, Perez and John Gant as the starting pitchers. So the rotation, while it would be young, would be okay for the rest of the season. If Folty or Perez still had issues that kept them out, the Braves could insert Tyrell Jenkins in the rotation or promote Chris Ellis to get some starts if he does well in Gwinnett.
Manny Banuelos is trying to bounce back from his arm issues, and the Braves likely love to see him get some big league innings before the year is up.
The bullpen is the spot that could take the biggest hit from trades. Vizcaino is Atlanta's closer, so they'd have to find a new one if he is traded. Chris Withrow may be the best option. When the Braves acquired him a year ago, they wondered if Withrow could one day be a closer. He has a mid-90s fastball.
If Vizcaino, Ogando, O'Flaherty and Johnson are all traded, here is who would be left - Withrow, Jenkins, Hunter Cervenka, Ian Krol and Dario Alvarez. The Braves would then have to look to Gwinnett. Casey Kelly, Ryan Weber, Jose Ramirez, Joel De La Cruz and Matt Marksberry would be candidates to join the bullpen. If Shae Simmons can show he's healthy, he would be a great addition.
Don't count on the Braves being able to trade Pierzynski. They had a hard time last year when he was doing well. Now that he's struggling, the Braves are likely stuck with him for the remainder of the season.
If Markakis gets traded, the Braves will still have Ender Inciarte and Mallex Smith in the outfield. Now, if they traded Francoeur and Markakis, they may be in trouble. They may have to turn to Chase d'Arnaud, Adonis Garcia and Jace Peterson - three infielders - to play in the outfield. And don't forget about Hector Olivera. He will be eligible to play again in August, and the Braves may have no choice but to see what Olivera can do in the final two months of the season.
Emilio Bonifacio could be called up from Gwinnett to get playing time in the outfield, as well.
If Aybar is traded, the question will be whether the Braves will bring up Dansby Swanson. He's been struggling recently in Double-A Mississippi, but the Braves still may be tempted to test him in Atlanta for the final two months of the season. If not, Daniel Castro could get some playing time replacing Aybar.
But the infield should mostly stay intact, with Freddie Freeman at first, Peterson or d'Arnaud at second and Garcia at third base.
So the roster could change dramatically if trades are made. There will likely be some players coming back who will immediately step in and get at bats or innings pitched. But the Braves may have to rely on a number of internal candidates if trades are made.
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