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The Daily Chop: Rumors abound as Braves look to replace Donaldson

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The Braves are being connected to several players in the aftermath of Josh Donaldson departing for Minnesota.

2019 NLDS Game 5 - St. Louis Cardinals v. Atlanta Braves Photo by Mike Zarrilli/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Braves, or at least the fan base, were dealt a pretty shocking blow on Tuesday as Josh Donaldson agreed to a four-year deal with the Minnesota Twins. With his electric personality, Donaldson endeared himself to the Atlanta faithful in his one-year stint with the Braves, and replacing that will likely prove difficult for Alex Anthopoulos. More importantly, the Braves have massive holes at third base and in the heart of their order, which could push them into the market for one of several available trade targets at third base.

In addition to the hole at third base, the Braves could conceivably look to upgrade one of their outfield spots with an eye toward filling the cleanup spot in the order as well. Among the possibilities for Atlanta are outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Nicholas Castellanos on the free agent market along with a host of trade targets that could add to the offensive attack. Rumors surfaced on Wednesday that the Braves favored Ozuna to Castellanos due to his defensive advantage, though neither grades out as a particularly skilled defender. Those rumors could come to fruition, though with such a shallow supply of power bats remaining, both players could conceivably wait until their asking prices are met.

The Braves have been assumed as the Donaldson destination for much of the winter, which makes the aftermath of his departure an anxious time. Atlanta is so bereft of offensive talent beyond the trio that heads their lineup, that the possibility of entering the season as currently constructed is certainly a worthy concern. Alex Anthopoulos has given little indication as to just how much payroll flexibility remains at this point in the offseason, but given his aggressiveness in pursuit of Will Smith, Travis d’Arnaud, Chris Martin, and others early this winter, fans expected a continuation of that approach in filling more pressing needs. Opening the season with the current crop of bats would be a disaster, but there is still time for these needs to be addressed, and Wednesday’s rumors would seem to indicate that Atlanta is still in the market for offensive production.

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