The Atlanta Braves decided not to bring back Eddie Rosario this offseason and looked on track to put all their eggs in the Vaughn Grissom basket as a replacement. However, developments on Sunday night revealed Alex Anthopoulos had something else up his sleeve.
The Braves agreed to a trade with the Seattle Mariners on the eve of the MLB Winter Meetings, picking up outfielder Jarred Kelenic with hopes of him reaching his potential in Atlanta.
The full details of the the trade between the Braves and Mariners were outlined by Jeff Passan of ESPN: Kelenic, first baseman Evan White and pitcher Marco Gonzales are heading to the Braves in exchange for pitchers Cole Phillips and Jackson Kowar.
MLB trade grades: Who won the Braves-Mariners Jarred Kelenic trade?
This is a good example of a trade with both sides feeling like they accomplished exactly what they wanted to do.
The Braves needed an outfielder and they found one with great upside.
Kelenic was a first-round draft pick in 2018. Great things were expected of him but he's never quite reached the heights Seattle hoped. In 2023, he slashed .253/.327/.419, all career highs. He also stole 13 bases and hit 11 home runs with an OPS+ of 109.
For comparison, Rosario slashed .255/.305/.450 with 21 home runs, three stolen bases and an OPS+ of 100.
More is expected of Kelenic if he can unlock his potential, so this trade could end up being a home run for the Braves. But it'll take time to figure out if the 24-year-old was worth it.
The cost wasn't terribly high. They have to take on White and Gonzales while giving up their No. 7 prospect in Phillips.
As for the Mariners, it's clear they gave up on Kelenic reaching his potential and decided to use the opportunity to clear some salaries off the books. That's why White and Gonzales were included in the deal.
If Seattle is freeing up space to make deals that will maximize their win potential, we may look back at this trade as a critical moment, especially if they can get production out of Phillips or Kowar down the line.
So at this stage, both teams achieved their goal. Time will tell who got the better deal.