For catcher Sean Murphy: catcher William Contreras, catcher Manny Piña, pitchers Justin Yeager, Kyle Muller, Freddy Tarnok, Royber Salinas
The Braves completed a complicated three-way trade with the A’s and Brewers over the winter that brought them Murphy, who became an All-Star in his debut campaign with the Braves.
Somehow, the A’s surrendered the best player in the deal (Murphy) yet didn’t get the best piece in return, which seems to be William Contreras. An All-Star designated hitter for the Braves last season, Contreras is an important part of the NL Central-champion Brewers’ lineup. Muller had a 7.60 ERA over 21 games, with his command remaining a problem. Tarnok returned from a shoulder injury, impressed in six appearances and earned a big-league promotion last month. Salinas had an ERA over 5.00 in Double-A for the A’s, while Yeager was slowed by injury in the Brewers organization. Piña, 36, has played just nine games over the past two years because of injuries. The A’s released him in August.
For reliever Joe Jimenez: third baseman/outfielder Justyn-Henry Malloy and pitcher Jake Higginbotham
Jimenez has a 3.04 ERA in 59 games. If the Braves are going to make a deep postseason run, they’ll need their bullpen to perform as it did in 2021. Jimenez will be an important factor in the coming weeks.
Malloy, who’s among the Tigers’ top prospects, had an excellent season in Triple-A, hitting .277 with an .891 OPS. Perhaps Detroit comes out of that deal ahead given Jimenez is an impending free agent, but if the Braves get where they want to go, they won’t be bothered. Malloy should debut next season. Higginbotham also had a nice season, earning a 2.97 ERA in 39 games (one start) over three levels, ending the season in Triple-A Toledo.
For reliever Pierce Johnson: pitchers Victor Vodnik and Tanner Gordon
The Braves thought getting Johnson away from Coors Field would do wonders, and they were correct. He had a 6.00 ERA in 43 games for Colorado. He has a 0.79 ERA across 23 appearances for the Braves. Notably, he has a 29:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Like Jimenez, Johnson is pivotal for the Braves to make a run. He’s also eyeing a contract in free agency this winter.
The Rockies promoted Vodnik to the majors, where he made six relief appearances. He struck out 12 in 8-2/3 innings. Gordon had a 5.53 ERA over four minor-league levels this season, finishing with a 4.31 mark in six games for Triple-A Albuquerque.
For infielder Nicky Lopez: pitcher Taylor Hearn
Six days after acquiring Hearn for cash considerations from Texas, the Braves swapped him for the versatile Royals infielder Lopez, whose versatility has proved helpful. The move made little sense for Kansas City on the surface – Hearn had just been available for essentially nothing and Lopez’s defense had value – but the Braves benefited.
For reliever Brad Hand: pitcher Alec Barger
The Braves added a veteran lefty in Hand at the deadline for the 25-year-old pitcher Barger, who had a 5.60 ERA across 43 games in Double-A this season.
For first baseman Matt Olson: catcher Shea Langeliers, outfielder Cristian Pache, pitchers Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes
This has quickly become one of the greatest transactions in Braves history. Olson has played in each possible game since joining his hometown club. He set the franchise’s single-season home run and RBI records this season. He’s been everything they could’ve imagined and more as the replacement for future Hall of Famer Freddie Freeman.
The A’s, though, won’t remember this deal so fondly. Pache is a backup outfielder with the Phillies. Cusick had 4.95 ERA across five minor-league affiliates and his command remains troublesome (66 walks in 100 innings). Estes had a solid minor-league campaign and earned two looks in the big leagues. Langeliers, who was considered the prize, has logged a heavy workload for Oakland but remains a work in progress. He hit .205/.268/.413 over 135 games. His 21 home runs are encouraging. His pop time – the time it takes from receiving the pitch and firing to the middle infielder on steal attempts – was 1.90, the sixth-best mark in MLB and just behind Murphy (1.89).
For closer Raisel Iglesias: pitchers Tucker Davidson and Jesse Chavez
When the Angels wanted to dump money last summer, the Braves opened their arms. They added Iglesias, a proven closer, for Davidson and Chavez, assuming the remainder of Iglesias’ four-year, $58 million deal. Iglesias replaced Kenley Jansen as the team’s ninth-inning man this season. Davidson had a 6.12 ERA in 36 games with the Angels and Royals. Chavez, of course, returned to the Braves last season and has been an important part of their bullpen in 2023.
For shortstop Orlando Arcia: pitchers Patrick Weigel and Chad Sobotka
Arcia, once a top prospect, showed some promise with the Brewers but never put it together. After a couple of seasons playing sparingly for the Braves, he became the All-Star starter at shortstop this summer, vastly exceeded any reasonable expectations as Dansby Swanson’s replacement. The Braves have him signed to a team-friendly deal through the next two years with a club option for 2026.
Weigel made three appearances for the Brewers and has spent 2023 with the Kansas City Monarchs of the American Association of Professional Baseball. Sobotka hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2020. The Brewers made some shrewd moves under executive David Sterns through the years, but this wasn’t one of them. “I was really shocked,” Brewers closer Devin Williams told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the All-Star game, recalling the trade.
For outfielder Eddie Rosario: infielder Pablo Sandoval
Another one of the better trades in team history, the Braves acquired Rosario for Sandoval in what amounted to a salary dump for Cleveland at the 2021 trade deadline. Rosario helped the team’s turnaround that summer and eventually was National League Championship Series MVP after he tortured the Dodgers. The Braves re-signed him after winning the World Series, and they’ll hope Rosario can catch fire again this October. Sandoval hasn’t played in the majors since his brief Braves tenure.
For left-hander Max Fried: outfielder Justin Upton and pitcher Aaron Northcraft
This one goes back to the Braves launching their rebuild. They dealt Upton and Northcraft for four Padres prospects, headlined by speedster Mallex Smith and Fried, who missed the ensuing season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Fried has since become one of the more accomplished starters in franchise history. He started the clinching Game 6 of the 2021 World Series and is instrumental for the Braves’ chances of winning it again this year.
Upton continued his polarizing but productive career, though he spent only one season in San Diego. He hit 161 homers from 2015-22 for the Tigers, Angels and Mariners after the Braves traded him.
As for the other healthy players who will or could contribute this month:
Draftees: 3B Austin Riley, RHP Kyle Wright, OF Michael Harris II, RHP Spencer Strider, RHP Bryce Elder, LHP A.J. Minter, RHP AJ Smith-Shawver, RHP Darius Vines, INF Vaughn Grissom.
International signings: OF Ronald Acuña Jr., 2B Ozzie Albies.
Free-agent signings: Catcher Travis d’Arnaud, RHP Charlie Morton (the Braves initially drafted him in 2002), DH Marcell Ozuna, RHP Collin McHugh, LHP Dylan Lee, RHP Kirby Yates, RHP Jackson Stephens, RHP Michael Tonkin, OF Kevin Pillar, OF Forrest Wall.
Others: C Chadwick Tromp (claimed off waivers from Giants), RHP Ben Heller (acquired from Tampa Bay for international bonus pool space), RHP Allan Winans (minor-league Rule 5 draft selection from Mets), RHP Jesse Chavez (claimed off waivers from Angels), utilityman Luke Williams (claimed off waivers from Dodgers).