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Column: Braves do a solid job improving roster without selling the farm

The views of the author are not necessarily the views of AllOnGeorgia.


OK, Atlanta Braves fans.

I hope you didn’t jump on-line and purchase World Series tickets this afternoon because of the wheeling and dealing the Braves did in advance of Tuesday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline in Major League Baseball.

If you did, you will probably end up regretting that decision unless you can find a Boston Red Sox fan who will take them off your hands as soon as you put them up for sale through one of the many ticket brokers out there come October.

The Bo Sox fan currently has a much better chance of seeing his or her favorite ball club in the Fall Classic than you will of seeing the Braves make it that far, and that will still be the case come the end of baseball’s regular season.

That’s not to say, though, that the Braves won’t make the postseason.

Despite their recent struggles, the team was still just a half-game back of the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East going into Tuesday’s action and also was just a half-game back in the race for one of the two NL wild-card spots.

I’ve been hoping that you will get the chance to do the tomahawk-chop inside beautiful SunTrust Park in October in this surprising season by the Braves, no matter what the team’s front office did or didn’t do before the trade deadline.

And now that that has come and gone, I think it’s safe to say the Braves did improve themselves with the moves they’ve made in recent days.

No, they didn’t make a blockbuster move. And no, they didn’t do anything that is almost guaranteed to make them better now or later.

But thing is, they didn’t stand pat and do nothing like some thought they might, knowing the Braves were ahead of schedule in their rebuild and anything more than a winning season this year would be a bonus.

Thus, some thought they might hold the cards they have now and just let this season play out.

The Braves were active, however, though they didn’t sell the farm system to go after a big name or two that would all but assure them of having a better chance of winning the NL East and also maybe the NL pennant this season.

Most baseball pundits figured the Braves definitely weren’t going to do that, and they didn’t.

But, what they did do was make a few moves that at least seem to improve the roster for the rest of this year and possibly beyond. And, they did so without giving away any of the bona fide top prospects currently playing on any of the three levels within their stacked farm system.

And with that, I’d say Braves fans should be satisfied with the work done by the powers-that-be in the front office.

They made the bullpen a little better by acquiring Jonny Venters and Brad Brach.

They added a starting pitcher in Kevin Gausman, who just a few years ago was a key piece in the pitching rotation for the Orioles when they were a playoff team.

This year, he has struggled somewhat as he has a 4.40 ERA, but the Braves are hoping that number and some others will change as he gets away from the bad Baltimore defense and hitter-friendly Camden Yards.

Also, the Braves added a bat that could provide a spark to an offense that has struggled to score runs at times of late with the acquisition of Cincinnati left fielder Adam Duvall.

The 29-year-old right-handed power hitter has seen his numbers dip this year. He is batting just .205 with 15 home runs and 61 RBIs.

Duvall belted 64 homers in his previous two seasons with 33 in his 2016 All-Star year and 31 last season.

But if you look a little deeper into his stats, he is tied for fifth in the NL with the most homers since the 2016 season. One of the others in that group is his new teammate, Braves’ first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Duvall will platoon in left field with Ronald Acuna who will shift to center field against left-handed pitchers, sending Ender Inciarte, who is struggling this season against lefties, to the bench when that happens.

Thus, the Braves will also have another decent option coming off the pine to pinch-hit, regardless of who that is.

And oh, Duvall is a pretty good outfielder, too.

So, bottom line is the Braves are better today than they were yesterday.

Credit general manager Alex Anthopoulos for that.

Good job.

Now, we will see what the results are between the lines as the Braves chop on in August and September.

Kevin Price is a freelance writer for AllOnGeorgia with more than 20 years experience in journalism and communications.

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