Atlanta Braves Rumors: Is Christian Yelich A Target?

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 19: Christian Yelich
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 19: Christian Yelich /

The Atlanta Braves have checked in on Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich.

Christian Yelich may have taken his last at-bat as a Marlin.

As Derek Jeter & Friends dismantle the Fish, Yelich could soon follow Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton out of town.  Marcell Ozuna could also be leaving South Florida soon.

To hear Marlins writer Joe Frisaro tell the story, the Atlanta Braves are among the vultures circling Miami.

Not clear yet if #Marlins are actually open to moving Christian Yelich, but at least 10 clubs are inquiring. #Braves #Dbacks #STLCards among them.

More from Call to the Pen

Well, now. That’s quite the twist.

At this week’s Winter Meetings, the Braves front office has clearly stated its desire to improve the team’s defense. This seems to signal the end of Matt Kemp’s tenure as a Brave, regardless of any accompanying roster moves.

On paper, acquiring Yelich is somewhat counter-intuitive, as the Braves need to clear an outfield spot for mega-prospect Ronald Acuña. The common belief is that the team will try to move Kemp or Nick Markakis by all means necessary. Obtaining a player of Yelich’s ilk could allow for a number of different scenarios to unfold.

Though he has experience all over the outfield, Yelich’s primarily position is now centerfield. This shift was done at the suggestion of new Braves assistant GM of research and development Jason Paré, who just jumped from the Miami to Atlanta. Is he already advocating for Yelich behind the scenes?

Current Braves CF Ender Inciarte’s glovework is incendiary, as evidenced by his two Gold Gloves and highlight reel catches. While there is definite interest in him, he is the obvious candidate to be Atlanta’s starting CF for in 2018.

Acquiring Yelich would essentially provide the Braves with three center fielders, as Acuña’s natural position is also CF.  With waves of pitching prospects about to hit Atlanta, having three superb outfield defenders could provide much-needed stability for many of them.

The price of acquisition could be prohibitive, but for a player like Yelich, the results could outweigh the return.  As the Marlins have shown their willingness to accept lesser prospect returns in lieu of shedding money, perhaps the Braves could absorb a hefty contract like Martin Prado to offset some of the cost.

One thing is for sure — if the pieces fall into place and the Atlanta Braves are able to acquire Yelich while somehow jettisoning Kemp, the team’s outfield defense essentially upgrades from a Geo Metro to a Ferrari.

Next: Braves Winter Meetings Primer

The Winter Meetings generate more buzz than a beehive, so stay tuned.