Atlanta Braves prove they are not selling with Joc Pederson

Jul 7, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Joc Pederson (24) celebrates the Cubs win against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 7, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Joc Pederson (24) celebrates the Cubs win against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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It would be easy for the Atlanta Braves to go into sell mode. They are presently a game under .500 at 44-45, Ronald Acuna Jr. has been lost for the season due to a torn ACL, their pitching has been a disappointment, and they are in need of outfield depth. Even though the Braves are four games out of first in a division where the Mets have been unable to distance themselves due to their own injury woes, they would appear to have a difficult road ahead if they are looking to reach the postseason.

But do not say that to the Braves. Instead, they have fired the first salvo of what should be a chaotic trade deadline, acquiring Joc Pederson from the Cubs in exchange for minor league first baseman Bryce Ball.

Atlanta Braves add needed outfield help

With Marcell Ozuna being injured, and on administrative leave due to a domestic violence investigation, the Braves needed one of their outfielders to step up. Instead, Cristian Pache struggled to the point where he was sent back to the minors and Ender Inciarte has not been able to play well enough to reclaim a starting role. Trotting the likes of Guillermo Heredia and Abraham Almonte out as part of a starting lineup will not help the Braves’ chances.

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Pederson should be an upgrade. He disappointed with the Cubs, posting a .230/.300/.418 batting line in his 287 plate appearances, hitting 11 homers and 11 doubles. However, he does have a much better track record than what the Braves have been trotting out for the starting lineup, and is capable of playing all three outfield positions. Pederson, if nothing else, gives Atlanta options that they did not have.

In exchange, the Cubs get an intriguing prospect in Bryce Ball. Although he had produced a .207/.354/.396 batting line in his 212 plate appearances in High-A, he has been considered a bat first prospect, one who had found incredible success at every level he played at. Ball has displayed a solid batting eye despite his struggles this season, drawing 40 walks with 59 strikeouts. He does have a tendency to focus more on looking for a pitch to put the bat on instead of finding something to drive, but he is still a prospect to watch, especially with the universal DH being inevitable.

It is a gamble for the Braves, but it is also one that they felt they had to take. All they need to do is get into the postseason regardless of their record. Anything can happen in a short series, and adding a veteran such as Pederson can only help the cause.

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The Atlanta Braves have fired the first salvo in the battle for the NL East. They have acquired Joc Pederson from the Cubs to solidify their outfield.