MLB Rumors: 3 Braves trades to combat Dodgers that Atlanta’s connected to already

Until proven otherwise, the Dodgers appear to be an easy National League favorite after signing Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Here's how the Braves could keep up.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves
Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages
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The Atlanta Braves, after a disappointing NLDS exit in 2023 that mirrored a similar result in 2022, have to prove their regular season riches can convert into postseason success in 2024. Doubts are already mounting that general manager Alex Anthopoulos has built a team that can find postseason success, and those will only get louder if the Braves can't get to the National League Championship Series or deeper in 2024.

Already, there's some trepidation over what 2024 may bring based on the scale of the Braves' offseason moves relative to some of its likely NL playoff rivals. The Phillies re-signed Aaron Nola, who the Braves wanted. The Dodgers added not only Shohei Ohtani, but also Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the two hottest commodities on the free agent market this year.

Meanwhile, Atlanta has made minor moves. Atlanta sent out Kyle Wright, bringing back Jarred Kelenic, Marco Gonzalez, and Evan White. There's a general expectation that the Braves might flip some of those players for an addition to its starting rotation.

A trade seems inevitable for Atlanta, and if that comes to fruition, here are three players they've been connected to that would get things right and keep them firmly in that upper tier of the NL.

Framber Valdez

Framber Valdez was a key part of the Astros' 2022 World Series victory and the ace of the rotation in 2023. The Astros don't plan to trade Valdez this winter according to Bob Nightengale, but they are listening to offers.

Straightaway, MLB experts are tabbing the Braves as a possible suitor. With the Braves acquiring tradeable assets, they might be able to pile up a trade package that's tough to deny. Clearly, it's going to take a haul to convince the Astros they should trade Valdez before the season starts.

Valdez in any given year could be a reasonable pick to win a Cy Young award, so adding him to an already fearsome starting rotation would certainly alleviate some of the concerns Atlanta saw rearing in the NLDS regarding pitching.

As for how he would fit this rotation, he'd bring a needed high ground ball rate. His GB% in 2023 checked in at 55.2 percent, better than any member of the Braves rotation except for Max Fried. Valdez boasts a fiery-hot fastball that sets up an occasionally-used changeup and an above-average curve.