It’s clear the Braves don’t value defense the way most teams do. Trading Andrelton was one indication. Moving to Freddie another. For all his attributes as a first sacker, range is not one of them. Matt Adams isn’t much of a first baseman, either, so infield defense would be a liability.
And we still don’t know if Adams is THAT good. He’s 28 years old, with a lifetime .318 OBP and .467 slugging. He takes walks at about the same rate of Matt Kemp. Working counts, like defense, is not a priority for management.
Sure, Adams has been a revelation. But so was Charlie Thomas in 2004. He lit a fire under a struggling team, batting .288 with a .813 OPS while playing excellent defense. JS promptly packaged him in a deal for Huddy. Thomas hit .109 for the Athletics in 30 games, his last stint in the bigs.
Adams is more accomplished than Thomas, obviously, but he’s not Cody Bellinger. And he’ll be a free agent after next season.
The smart move is to move him when his value is at its highest. The Yankees, who are certain to be looking for an upgrade from Chris Carter, have a deep farm system. Adams won’t fetch Gleybar Torres but it’s reasonable to think the Braves could snag OF Dustin Fowler (.297-12-39, 12 SB, .889 OPS at Triple-A) or 3B Miguel Andujar (.312-7-52, .836 OPS at Double-A) in a trade.
No question third base remains an organizational need. Coppy’s many lackeys seem determined to convince themselves that Austin Riley is the answer but he has too many holes in his swing and in his glove. Travis Demeritte has potential but also has 74 Ks and a pedestrian .761 OPS at Mississippi. Rio Ruiz may be no more than a left-handed Adonis Garcia. Now we’re pinning our hopes on Johan Camargo.
Regardless, messing around with your franchise player like this is foolish.