Braves bring back Ehire Adrianza, designate Robinson Canó for assignment

Credit: Hyosub Shin

Credit: Hyosub Shin

The Braves on Monday brought back a familiar face who won a World Series with them.

They acquired Ehire Adrianza from the Nationals for minor-league outfielder Trey Harris. The move could be the first of a few for president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos before Tuesday’s 6 p.m. trade deadline.

The Braves also designated Robinson Canó for assignment, officially ending his short run with them.

Adrianza is batting .179 with a .458 OPS over 84 at-bats this season. He has driven in seven runs, but hasn’t yet hit a homer. He’s doubled twice. He didn’t appear in a game until June 7 after suffering a strained left quad in the spring.

But he knows the Braves, and they know him.

In 2021, he hit .247 with a .728 OPS, with five homers and 28 RBIs, for the club. The switch-hitter provides infield depth, which Atlanta needs until Ozzie Albies (fractured left foot) returns. Adrianza fits in their clubhouse. He is also on a one-year deal, meaning the Braves don’t have to carry him past this season.

Adrianza has primarily played shortstop and third base throughout his career, but he’s also seen time at second base. He played second base seven times for the Braves last year and appeared there four times for the Nationals this season. He can also play in the outfield, where the Braves used him 20 times last year.

The expectations on Adrianza won’t be too high. The Braves haven’t received much production from this spot on the roster, whether it be from Phil Gosselin or Canó. Orlando Arcia has been Atlanta’s primary second baseman since Albies went down.

Albies is expected to return at some point this season, which is why Atlanta can deploy temporary solutions until then. The Braves have more pressing needs.

Harris’ was Atlanta’s No. 29 prospect on MLB Pipeline. The 26-year-old Harris, 26 hit .238 with two home runs in 59 games with Double-A Mississippi. The Braves drafted Harris, who went to high school in Powder Springs, in the 32nd round in 2018.

Adrianza’s return seems like the first piece in what could be a crazy deadline for the Braves. Anthopoulos, known for his craftiness this time of year, has more needs to address. The Braves could use another outfielder, a starting pitcher and bullpen help.

Anthopoulos has said before that he never feels fully content with his roster. He’s always looking for ways to upgrade. That’s how he’s wired.

He leads an organization that possesses one of baseball’s best rosters. But Anthopoulos understands any team can be improved.

Acquiring Adrianza might simply be one step in the Braves’ trade deadline plans.

Braves end Canó experiment

From the moment they acquired Canó, the Braves knew cutting him was a possibility. They understood there was a chance he wouldn’t pan out with them.

But they believed it was worth a shot. After all, there was no risk.

The Mets are paying most of Canó's salary. The Braves gave the Padres cash considerations for him, so they didn’t give up anything.

Canó lasted less than a month with the Braves. In nine games, he went 4-for-26 with a double. His last hit game on July 16. In five games after that, he went 0-for-12.

The Braves liked Canó's exit velocity figures in Triple A in San Diego’s system. They understood he was suspended last season after testing positive for PEDs for the second time and hadn’t gotten much regular playing time this year.

But the veteran second baseman couldn’t revive his career in Atlanta. The Braves are fighting for their fifth NL East crown in as many seasons and couldn’t afford to carry Canó any longer. They had to improve.