MLB trade grades: Braves Jarred Kelenic honeymoon period is over

Atlanta Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos never sleeps, and he made another trade with the Rangers on Friday to solidify the outfield.

Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves
Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves / Adam Hagy/GettyImages
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Alex Anthopoulos has swung another trade, this time to further solidify the Atlanta outfield.

Anthopoulos and the Braves have traded for former Texas Rangers top-100 prospect JP Martinez. Atlanta sent Tyler Owens, a 23-year-old starting pitcher and team top-25 prospect, to Texas in exchange.

Martinez is a productive defender who performed admirably in Triple-A last season. He's unproven at the MLB level, so by no means will he compete for much of anything in spring training minus a bench spot if he's lucky. Owens was expendable as the Braves have a deep rotation and their system depth is primarily pitching-related. Martines made his MLB debut in August and has two options left, so there is no rush for the Braves to provide him with consistent playing time, which may be for the best.

Owens, meanwhile, had an ERA over four last season and 15 losses across all levels. He projects better as a long reliever or bullpen piece, rather than a top-tier starter. However, given the Rangers starting pitching needs without Jordan Montgomery, he could receive a chance in spring training to make the MLB roster.

MLB trade grades: Braves put Jarred Kelenic on notice, sort of

Atlanta acquired Kelenic from the Seattle Mariners earlier this offseason in a universally-praised decision by Anthopoulos. With the Braves, Kelenic won't have nearly as much pressure on him to produce, as he's not their top prospect. Instead, Kelenic remains a young, productive player with promise who can play a corner outfield spot.

However, should Kelenic struggle with his bat -- and he's been known to let that impact his entire game -- the Braves have other options. Kelenic slashed .253/.327/.419 in 2023 with 11 home runs in 105 games. He'll receive more of the load with the Braves, barring he performs up to par.

Martinez has shown enough promise in Texas's system to warrant an opportunity elsewhere. There's a reason Atlanta had to trade a top-30 prospect, even if their system is a little barren itself.

With the Rangers likely to add a bullpen piece soon, such as David Robertson, Martinez would have been the odd man out. In this case, they received something of value for a player who didn't have a place on their major-league roster.

Braves trade grade: B-

Rangers trade grade: B

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