3 Braves who should’ve been traded this offseason but weren’t

These three Braves players should have been traded at some point this offseason but weren't.

Sep 8, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Bryce Elder (55) throws against
Sep 8, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Bryce Elder (55) throws against / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Jackson Stephens is limiting the Braves bullpen flexibility

The Braves bullpen looks like one of the best in the National League with new additions Reynaldo Lopez and Aaron Bummer joining the likes of Raisel Iglesias and A.J. Minter. The bullpen is both good and deep with eight really strong options for Brian Snitker to turn to, and their depth is strong too. If one flaw could be pointed out, it'd be their lack of flexibility.

The entire projected bullpen according to FanGraphs cannot be optioned. This means they'd have to clear waivers for the Braves to send them down. The only one with a chance of doing so is Jackson Stephens, but Atlanta also could've gotten something for him in a trade.

While the right-hander only made five appearances for the Braves in 2023, he made 39 appearances the year prior, posting a very respectable 3.69 ERA in 53.2 innings pitched working primarily in low leverage for Atlanta. Stephens has value as a pitcher who can go multiple innings if need be, but with his lack of options, things can get a bit dicey.

Teams often like to have arms they can shuttle between the majors and minors to keep the bullpen fresh. Stephens is a guy who has been the victim of that in his career. With arms like Ray Kerr and Dylan Lee floating around who have those options to keep things flexible, it's hard to see Stephens having a spot long-term, making him an easy trade candidate. Even if the Braves got cash considerations for him, it'd be better than placing him on waivers and risking losing him for nothing.

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