How much trade value would a guy have who has been absolutely incredible for 28 games in Freddie Freeman’s absence? I’m talking about Matt Adams and I don’t quite know what the answer is. I know that for a guy who cost the Braves Juan Yepez, he’s been nothing short of phenomenal. His walk rate is low (7.4 percent), but his strikeout rate isn’t bad (20.5 percent), all the while his wOBA is .411. That’s pretty darn good and there should be a lot of teams that inquire about Adams for a playoff run. That being said, there are a few teams that stand out. Let’s address those teams here.
New York Yankees
The Yankees are in first in the AL East and might be running away with the division if they had any production from the first base position. Chris Carter, Rob Refsnyder, and Greg Bird have combined to put up a -0.9 WAR from the first base position, which is the third-worst mark in all of baseball. The Yankees need a first baseman at the deadline and may come knocking on the Braves doorstep. But who would the Braves demand in return?
The first prospect that comes to mind is Gleyber Torres. Hey, he has to have Tommy John surgery!
All kidding aside, the Yankees farm system is deep and could absorb a relative blow, if it meant getting a first baseman to help propel them on a postseason run. The bad news for the Braves in this scenario is that the Yankees aren’t in “win-now” mode, as their window is relatively large.
I had trouble putting together a good trade here, but I think that both Garcias would be pieces that the Yankees could move and feel no remorse about it. Adams would still have one more year on his contract to help the Bronx Bombers and Wilkerman Garcia is stuck behind Torres, Jorge Mateo, and Tyler Wade. Not to mention the 19-year-old shortstop struggled mightily in 2016 at Rookie ball. Meanwhile, Dermis Garcia is behind several possible third basemen in the farm system.
According to MLB Pipeline, Wilkerman is the 16th best prospect in the Yankees incredibly deep system. Scouts say that he will grow into a gap hitter once he fills out, but that he might not be a big home run bat. He gets average to plus grades with his speed and arm strength, though remaining at shortstop is a question asked by many scouts.
Dermis is ranked as the Yankees 28th best prospect and has a lot of power. He was second in the Appalachian League in 2016 with 13 homers, but he had a 34 percent whiff rate and a .206 batting average. The 19-year-old is the definition of boom-or-bust and it will only get fixed with pitch recognition.
This trade makes sense for both teams. The Braves have a chance to get better in the future and the Yankees get better in the present without affecting their future.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are right behind the Yankees in the AL East, but the designated hitter position has been a pretty glaring hole for the ball club. Boston has the third worst WAR among teams in the American League when it comes to designated hitters. Adams doesn’t grade out great defensively at first and perhaps if he just had to worry about hitting his numbers would improve.
Adams to Boston for 3B Michael Chavis
The Red Sox have Rafael Devers and Bobby Dalbec ahead of Chavis as far as prospect status is concerned, but that’s not a knock on Chavis. The 21-year-old is playing pretty well at High-A, slashing .318/.388/.641 with 17 home runs and striking out in 25.6 percent of his plate appearances. Last year Chavis’ stock took a bit of a hit when he slashed .237/.313/.372 in 81 games at A and High-A. Personally, I like Chavis more than Austin Riley and the Red Sox have enough third base depth that it shouldn’t hold them back from making the trade.
Chavis’ power has never been a question, but his hit tool and fielding ability have raised some red flags. The comparison that most scouts give to him? Dan Uggla.
The Red Sox might want something else in return for Adams, and as long as it’s not a vital part of the future the Braves should consider it.
There are plenty of other teams who make sense for a run at Adams but there are other factors at play. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Minnesota Twins, and Seattle Mariners are still in the playoff hunt, but would probably be reluctant to give up much, as their playoff fortunes could change at the drop of a hat.
Other teams like the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays have veterans in that spot that aren’t performing and it’s always tough to sit a big contract on the bench for a guy who is riding a hot streak. Plus both of those teams may not necessarily be buyers at the deadline, though roster management would dictate that they should be as the window is closing and fast.
Adams didn’t cost the Braves much to acquire in May, but the team is thankful that it did. He’s kept the Braves afloat and not completely out of the playoff picture, even if the chances of postseason baseball in Atlanta appear to be slim.
Though the Braves didn’t give up much for the power-hitting first baseman, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t ask for more once the team decides where his fate lies within the organization. Looking at his performance in his 29 games in a Braves uniform, Adams deserves a chance to start and he won’t get it here once Freeman returns.