The Braves will attempt to trade an outfielder to open a spot for rising top prospect Ronald Acuna. Nick Markakis has reportedly already been involved in discussions.
Markakis was the subject of talks between the Braves and Blue Jays earlier this month, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. Morosi adds the discussion gained no traction.
The Braves would likely prefer to move outfielder Matt Kemp, whose exorbitant salary, recurring injuries and poor defense could make him a negative asset.
Markakis has been steadier than Kemp with a higher, more reliable floor. The 34-year-old slashed .275/.354/.384 in 160 games last season. He has one year and $11 million remaining on his contract.
Kemp, meanwhile, slashed .276/.318/.463 in 115 games, while grading out as one of the worst defensive outfielders by several metrics. Kemp had a couple stints on the disabled list, the first of which derailed a hot start after 34 games, when Kemp hit .340 with eight homers and 27 RBIs.
An American League team could hope that Kemp, in a majority designated-hitter role, could rekindle that success for a longer period of time. But Kemp has two years, $43 million remaining, and at 34-years-old is showing signs of decline.
While new, Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos should have plenty of background on both his veteran outfielders. He worked for the Dodgers the past two seasons under president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who first traded Kemp to the Padres in 2014.
Anthopoulos should also have familiarity with Markakis, whom he competed against in the AL East when he was GM of the Blue Jays and Markakis played right field in Baltimore.
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