Braves Acquire Outfielder Jarred Kelenic in Trade with Mariners

Major League Baseball witnesses a noteworthy offseason trade.

by Nouman Rasool
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Braves Acquire Outfielder Jarred Kelenic in Trade with Mariners
© Steph Chambers/Getty Images

In a significant move to bolster their roster, the Atlanta Braves have secured the talents of outfielder Jarred Kelenic, left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales, and first baseman Evan White from the Seattle Mariners. This trade, involving right-handers Jackson Kowar and Cole Phillips, marks a strategic shift for both teams, particularly as the Mariners aim to streamline their financial commitments.

This transaction follows the Mariners' earlier decision to trade third baseman Eugenio Suarez to Arizona, further indicating their strategy to reduce future salary burdens. Despite the Mariners adding an undisclosed amount of cash, the financial implications are notable, with White and Gonzales together owed approximately $29 million.

The Braves, actively seeking to enhance their left field and pitching options, have shown a willingness to invest in Kelenic. Despite being only 24, Kelenic has demonstrated potential, notably contributing to the Braves' record .501 slugging percentage this year.

His performance includes a .253 batting average, 11 home runs, and 49 RBIs in 105 games, despite a period of absence due to injury. Kelenic, a centerpiece in the 2018 deal involving Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano with the New York Mets, has been recognized for his significant power but also noted for his high strikeout rate.

He remains under team control until the end of the 2028 season. Gonzales, 31, is a seasoned pitcher known for his reliability, though his recent arm surgery has been a setback. His contract includes a $12 million salary for 2024 and an optional $15 million for 2025.

White, on the other hand, has faced challenges in establishing himself in the major leagues, with injuries hindering his progress in the past two seasons. He is contracted for $15 million over the next two years, with a buyout option in 2026.

The Mariners' payroll is now significantly reduced, dipping below their $137 million threshold from the previous season. This change potentially opens opportunities for Seattle to engage in further trades or explore the free agent market, especially after the departure of right fielder Teoscar Hernandez.

The Mariners, with their promising array of young starting pitchers, are now in a favorable position for trade negotiations, especially given the current market dynamics for starting pitchers. Jerry Dipoto, Mariners' President of Baseball Operations, expressed gratitude towards the departing players for their contributions, emphasizing the strategic nature of this move in strengthening the team's prospects for 2024 and beyond.

The trade also includes prospects like Phillips, a promising young pitcher recovering from Tommy John surgery, and Kowar, whose major league experience with the Royals and recent shift to the Braves adds depth to the Mariners' pitching resources.

This strategic reshuffling by both teams underscores their commitment to long-term success, balancing financial considerations with on-field performance.

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