ATLANTA — Instead of conceding the NL East after losing one of their top players to a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the Braves did a funny thing at the trade deadline: they went for it.
In the days and weeks leading into July 30, Atlanta acquired Joc Pederson, Adam Duvall, Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario and Richard Rodriguez in a makeover that helped fuel the Braves’ second-half run. Atlanta had lost Ronald Acuña Jr. for the season in July and was sitting in third place, five games behind the Mets in the NL East. But the Braves reloaded following the trades orchestrated by president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos and won a fourth straight division title.
Those Braves were set to begin their pursuit of the World Series, with Game 1 of the NLCS against the Dodgers at Truist Park on Saturday night.
“It’s tough to be without one of the best players we have got on our team,” Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies said. “But when Alex stepped in and went and got people to do the job … he hoped we had a big chance to come back and we did for him, so he did a phenomenal job of getting those guys for us and it kept the team rolling to be here today.”
The team the Braves were chasing, the Mets, took what was considered a halfway approach at the deadline, acquiring Javier Baez and Trevor Williams from the Cubs for 2020 first-round pick Pete Crow-Armstrong. The biggest names available were Kris Bryant and Jose Berrios, who were dealt to the Giants and Blue Jays, respectively.
Would the Mets’ final two months have been different if they had been more active at the deadline? It’s an answer that will never be known, but a team that held first place for three straight months was soon displaced and never recovered, finishing 77-85, even as Baez provided a dynamic lineup presence over the final six weeks. Williams was little more than a healthy arm who could shuffle between the rotation and bullpen as needed.
There is no denying Atlanta provided a blueprint for a midseason makeover. It can’t be overlooked that Braves chairman Terry McGuirk gave Anthopoulos permission to expand payroll, citing a spike in revenue early in the season.
“[McGuirk] said, ‘I want to reinvest whatever upside we’ve gained back into the ballclub,’ ” Anthopoulos told MLB.com. “He basically gave me a large amount of money to work with. I was ecstatic. That’s a credit to those fans who came out and supported this club and put us in this position.
“It’s just like coming home with a bag of groceries [for manager Brian Snitker] and saying, ‘Here, cook dinner.’ We just dumped four outfielders on him.”
The Braves’ starting lineup for Game 1 included Rosario, Duvall and Pederson as the starting outfield. Pederson, a former Dodger who began the season with the Cubs, was a significant factor in the NLDS against the Brewers, delivering two pinch-hit homers.
But Rosario was the acquisition who might have helped the Braves the most in the stretch run. The 30-year-old Rosario had a slash line of .271/.330/.573 with seven homers and 16 RBIs in 33 games after he was acquired from Cleveland. The Braves also received a jolt from Duvall, who hit 16 homers in 55 games after arriving from Miami. Soler, acquired from Kansas City, tested positive for COVID-19 during the NLDS and has been placed on the injured list. It’s possible he will return at some point in the postseason.
In the bullpen, the Braves have received a boost from Rodriguez, who appeared in 27 games after they got him from the Pirates, and pitched to a 3.12 ERA.
Source : https://nypost.com/2021/10/16/nlcs-braves-reaping-benefits-of-all-in-trade-deadline/909