The 2023 World Series is set to get underway on Friday night with the Texas Rangers hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks. Yes, as every fan in Atlanta knows, that means the Braves failed to make it back to the Fall Classic for the second straight year after their triumph in 2021.
It was a historic regular season for the Braves, make no mistake. They were legitimately one of the best-hitting teams in MLB history. When the postseason began, though, the bats cooled off enough and pitching proved to be enough of an issue that the rival Phillies sent them bouncing.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but looking back at free agency and, perhaps more importantly, the trade deadline, there were moves that the Braves could've made in order to get over the hump, or at least make a more spirited push in the playoffs. In fact, there are three players who will suit up for the World Series who could've made a positive impact on the Braves and that the organization had at least some chance to add.
3. Tommy Pham, OF, Diamondbacks
One of the potential issues that many saw with the Braves lineup was the lack of consistency in left field. Eddie Rosario has had plenty of signature moments, including in the playoffs, for this team since he arrived, and Kevin Pillar has been an uber-solid veteran for a long, long time. And yet, the platoon left a bit to be desired at times.
As the organization comes into the offseason, there is a desire to potentially upgrade in left field for that exact reason in free agency. However, to help remedy that issue right now, they could've done what the Diamondbacks were able to and struck a deal for another veteran like Tommy Pham.
Elephant in the room, yes -- this would've required a trade with the Mets. There's no guarantee that the bitter rivals would've been willing to do business with the Braves. At the same time, it's an addition who would've helped in Atlanta.
Pham wasn't spectacular by any means with Arizona, but he was solid, slashing .241/.304/.415 with six home runs, 12 doubles and 32 RBI to his credit. And in the playoffs, his averages have been worse, but he's come up in some big moments, including a tone-setting solo home run in the first inning of Game 6 of the NLCS as Arizona mounted a comeback.
Making him part of that outfield platoon for the Braves could've been hugely helpful.