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If the Atlanta Braves want to upgrade their outfield defensively, they could trade for Kevin Kiermaier with the Tampa Bay Rays as an eventual bridge to Cristian Pache down the line.
While the universal DH helps the Atlanta Braves out a ton in 2022, they could be at a disadvantage defensively in the centerfield right out of the gate.
With Ronald Acuña Jr. working his way back from a torn ACL, and probably a better long-term fit in right field to save his legs, that means either Adam Duvall will man centerfield to start the season, or it will be the light-hitting former top prospect known as Cristian Pache. Duvall came up big for the Braves down the stretch, but he is best served over in left field or occasionally occupying DH.
But what if the Braves made a trade? Jake Mastroianni of Tomahawk Take suggests the Braves could deal for Kevin Kiermaier of the Tampa Bay Rays as a bridge to Pache. He argues that Kiermaier is what Pache could become at baseball’s highest level. With Pache getting lost in the shuffle a bit with all the power bats in the Atlanta outfield, could the Braves make this happen?
Let’s discuss the Rays being a potential trade partner for the defending World Series champions.
Will Atlanta Braves trade for Kevin Kiermaier to help bring Cristian Pache along?
Let’s be real. The Braves need to get something, anything really, out of Pache this season. Though it might be hard to crack the lineup on a team this talented, it also takes the pressure off a young player trying to find himself. Frankly, it beats the alternative of having to play every day in a tough situation for a bottom-feeding team that is going nowhere. Pache has to hit or he will be gone.
For Pache to have success in the big leagues, he has to figure out what he is and what his prototype is. Kiermaier is certainly a guy to aspire to. Though he has been with the Rays for ages, they are always looking at dumping salary in an attempt to stay competitive as a small-market club. The Braves may have their financial issues, but now is not the time for Atlanta to be cheap.
Simply, the Braves have enough players in the minor leagues to entice the Rays to trade a player like Kiermaier to them. However, this feels like a roundabout way to get the most out of a depreciating asset that was probably overvalued to begin with. Kiermaier may thrive in Atlanta, but there are no guarantees he will be the key to unlocking all of the untapped potential in Pache.
The only thing that is certain is Pache has to become a guy in 2022 or the Braves will move on.