ATLANTA -- Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos enhanced his bench with power potential, created a chance to platoon Ender Inciarte and added another plus defender to his outfield mix by acquiring former All-Star Adam Duvall in exchange for three players who likely would have been removed from the 40-man roster this offseason.
After Monday night's 5-3 win over the Marlins, the Braves announced they acquired Duvall from the Reds for outfielder Preston Tucker and right-handed pitchers Matt Wisler and Lucas Sims. The move should improve the offense against lefties, but it will also impact a bench that lacked a true power source.
"Duvall we felt was a good fit," Anthopoulos said. "We really value outfield defense and then you combine power -- those are good qualities, and they are hard to find, and the fact that he's eligible for first-time arbitration next year, there is more control with that moving forward."
Coming off consecutive 30-homer seasons for the Reds, Duvall has hit .205 with 15 homers and a .685 OPS over 370 plate appearances this year. His offensive production has trended down, but Statcast™ has credited him with nine Outs Above Average -- the seventh-most in the Majors.
Against left-handed starters, the Braves will put Duvall in left field and transition Ronald Acuna Jr. to center field to spell Inciarte, who has hit .207 with a .516 OPS against southpaws this season. Duvall has slashed .224/.333/.435 against lefties this year.
Though the Braves will be sitting a two-time Gold Glove Award winner against left-handers, they should still be strong defensively with Acuna, who played center field throughout a majority of his Minor League days.
"I talked to Ender tonight, he was great," Anthopoulos said. "His response was, 'I just want to get to the playoffs.' He's awesome, and I can't say enough about him as a team guy. We take him for granted at how good a defender he is."
Duvall's presence should also impact the bench, which has counted Charlie Culberson and Ryan Flaherty as its two primary pinch-hit options.
While this move should have an immediate impact on a team that sits just a half-game behind the Phillies in the National League East, Anthopoulos also sees the potential long-term benefits provided by Duvall, who will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter.
Once considered top prospects, Wisler and Sims had become nothing more than potential long-relief options within Atlanta's pitching-rich system. Tucker showed some power potential when he opened this season as the Braves' left fielder. But he has been considered a below-average defensive player throughout his career.
"It could have been a bit of a crunch for us with the 40 in the offseason," Anthopoulos said. "Tuck and Matt are both going to be out of options at the end of the year. I can't sit here and tell you that they would have survived the roster, and that's no indictment on them, it's just a reflection that we have so much talent coming and a lot of guys to protect. A guy like Sims has an option beyond this year, but we like all those guys. They are talented and have done a solid job."