3 player Braves can target to take advantage of Joc Pederson trade return

Cubs, Kris Bryant

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 26: Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs rounds second base after hitting a grand slam in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on April 26, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Atlanta Braves did not have to give up much to acquire outfielder Joc Pederson last week. With that, they can pivot to acquiring one of these three huge players.

The first half of the season has been hellish for the Atlanta Braves due to the variety of injuries they had to endure. From starting pitcher Mike Soroka to star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., the Braves have not had it easy.

When Acuña tore his ACL, the Braves called the Chicago Cubs to negotiate a deal for outfielder Joc Pederson. All it took was for the Braves to part ways with prospect Bryce Ball. Scouts told FanSided MLB insider Robert Murray that the Cubs “pulled the trigger on a deal too quickly,” citing that Ball is best as a designated hitter.

With the Braves not surrendering much for Pederson, that allows general manager Alex Anthopoulos to explore making a move for bigger fish in the ocean. If Atlanta chooses to go down this route, here are three players they should target.

3. Kris Bryant

If the Cubs accepted what scouts believes was an underwhelming offer, the Braves should consider making another call to the team from the Windy City to get perhaps their biggest trade piece at the deadline — Kris Bryant.

The former 2016 NL MVP has been the subject of trade rumors for years. But the one team that was linked to him quite frequently over that span were the Braves. Yet, that was when Bryant was primarily a third baseman. Now, Bryant’s value is through the roof as a utility man.

Bryant offers postseason-hopeful teams with the gift of versatility. The 29-year-old has played at third, first and all three positions of the outfield. That should definitely get the attention of the Braves, who are in thick of the competitive NL East divisional race.

Through 86 games this season, Bryant is slashing .264/.346/.489 while recording 16 home runs, 48 RBI, 53 runs scored and 81 hits.

The Braves should consider bombarding the Cubs with phone calls to try to negotiate a deal to bring Bryant to Atlanta.

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