The Atlanta Braves entered Friday with a 51-52 record on the season, putting them four games back in the National League East and eight back in the wild-card hunt. Despite already acquiring Joc Pederson this month as a means of trying to fill the Ronald Acuña Jr. void, Atlanta swung a trio of deals ahead of the trade deadline to improve their outfield depth chart: first adding the injured Eddie Rosario in a swap with Cleveland that will send reserve Pablo Sandoval to the Midwest, then reacquiring Adam Duvall from the Miami Marlins in for catcher Alex Jackson. The Braves later beat the buzzer to add Jorge Soler from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for righty Kasey Kalich, per ESPN's Jeff Passan.
Rodriguez, 31, had a 2.82 ERA (148 ERA+) and a 6.60 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 37 appearances this season. Interestingly, his spin rate numbers have fallen since MLB cracked down on sticky substances in late June. In a small sample since, he's allowed nine hits and six runs in 10 innings. The Braves are, to state the obvious, hoping his performance bounces back heading forward. He's under team control for an additional two seasons either way.
Soler, by virtue of hitting 48 home runs in 2019, is the biggest name of the trio. He's a 29-year-old impending free agent who did not perform well in 94 games with the Royals this year. His seasonal marks to date include a .192/.288/.370 slash line (79 OPS+) and just 13 home runs. Soler's ball-tracking metrics (namely his exit velocity) suggest he's been deserving of better numbers. That established, he hasn't hit the ball in the ideal 10-to-30-degree window as frequently this season, and he's a defensive negative who has to hit to have value. He's an odd fit for a NL team, in other words.
Rosario, 29 and an impending free agent, is in the midst of a career-worst season. He'll join the Braves having hit .254/.296/.389 (84 OPS+) in 78 contests with the future Guardians. Both Rosario's average and max exit velocities are higher this season than they were last, when he posted a 117 OPS+, which may give the Braves optimism he can provide some power down the stretch. He's expected to miss several more weeks with an abdominal injury.
Duvall, 32, had previously played with Atlanta from 2018-20. With the Marlins, he batted .229/.277/.478 (102 OPS+) with 22 home runs in 90 games. Unlike Rosario, Duvall's contract includes a club option for next season valued at $3.25 million. Considering that the Braves non-tendered him last winter, it seems unlikely they'd exercise that option.
As for the players the Braves traded on Friday, Sandoval is the more famous name but Jackson and Kalich have more future value. The No. 6 pick in the 2014 draft, Jackson has above-average pop and enough defensive chops to envision him serving as a backup catcher. Of course, Jackson is nearing his 26th birthday and he hasn't yet played in 20 big-league games, so you can understand why the Braves determined him to be expendable. Kalich, a former fourth-round pick, is a pure reliever with good stuff. Unfortunately, he's walked five batters per nine this season in High-A.
In addition to Pederson, Rosario, and Duvall, the Braves have also added catcher Stephen Vogt this month.