Atlanta's Secret Plan Revealed! - footballivenews
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Atlanta’s Secret Plan Revealed!



The Atlanta Braves surprised the baseball community with their second major offseason trade, mirroring the unexpected timing of their initial move. After acquiring Jarred Kelenic from the Seattle Mariners just before the MLB Winter Meetings, the Braves made another significant trade on December 30th, securing Chris Sale from the Boston Red Sox a day before New Year’s Eve when much of the baseball world is not actively engaged.

In the deal, Atlanta only surrendered infielder Vaughn Grissom, and Boston agreed to cover $17 million of Sale’s $27.5 million salary for 2024. Additionally, $10 million of Atlanta’s remaining commitment to Sale is deferred, resulting in a modest cash outlay of $500,000 for the Braves in 2024.

To evaluate the success of the trade, MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal, speaking on Foul Territory hosted by former Braves catcher AJ Pierzynski, emphasized that Sale must contribute to the Braves’ playoff run and have his club option for 2025 picked up for the trade to be deemed a triumph.

Considering the context, Atlanta seems to have secured a favorable deal, trading Grissom, a promising hitter with six seasons of team control, whose value to the Braves was diminished due to the team’s extensive lineup stability. The Braves have secured team control for multiple years at every defensive position, with the shortstop position, the first potential opening, not available until 2026 (or 2027 if Orlando Arcia’s club option is exercised). However, it’s noted that Grissom is not suited for shortstop duties.

While there is a temptation to insist on retaining Sale for 2025 for the trade to be a complete success, the argument is made that if Sale performs well in the postseason and provides effective innings for Atlanta in October, it will be challenging to claim that the Braves lost in this deal.

Looking ahead, retaining Sale for 2025 becomes crucial, especially with Max Fried hitting free agency and Charlie Morton’s contract expiring shortly before his 41st birthday. The Braves anticipate multiple rotation vacancies in 2025, and while they possess pitching talent in their system, it remains uncertain if two pitchers will be ready to step in as potential postseason starters for Fried and Morton if they depart from Atlanta. However, this aspect is reserved for discussion in a future article.

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