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Braves rosters might have included three more players for the World Series.


The Atlanta Braves failed to make it out of the NLDS again, and looking at some of the players in the World Series for the Rangers and Diamondbacks, they had a chance to add one or two.

1. Nathan Eovaldi

Let’s get this out of the way — there were pretty clear reasons as to why Alex Anthopoulos and the rest of the Braes front office didn’t necessarily deem their starting pitching a priority in free agency. There’s no way they could’ve foreseen injuries to Max Fried, Ian Anderson, Kyle Wright, and many others affecting this team, a club also hopeful for the return of Michael Soroka.

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At the same time, when a chance to fortify the rotation with a proven pitcher like Nathan Eovaldi emerges at a reasonable price, it’s something that you have to wonder why the Braves didn’t consider it more thoroughly.

Yes, Eovaldi has dealt with injury issues of his own in his career, including even this season with the Rangers. When he’s been on the mound, however, he’s been an absolute dynamo.

Eovaldi finished the regular season with a 12-5 record over 25 starts, posting a 3.63 ERA and 1.14 WHIP on the season. As he did in his previous stop with the Red Sox, though, he’s turned it up a notch in the postseason for Texas. He’s delivered four Quality Starts in as many appearances while putting up a 2.42 ERA and 0.96 WHIP for the playoffs. Eovaldi has been absolute nails evvery time he’s been called upon, which is probably why the Rangers called upon him for Game 1 of the World Series.

Given that Texas was able to land Eovaldi for just a two-year, $34 million contract this offseason, that seems well within the tight-ish budget that the Braves prefer to utilize. And looking back now, having him as the No. 2 or 3 in the rotation could’ve been massively beneficial for Atlanta.

2. Jordan Montgomery

When the trade deadline came and went, it felt as if the majority of Braves fans looked at the minor moves that the organization made and said, “That’s it?”

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Indeed, Alex Anthopoulos was not particularly active on the trade market. They ultimately added a pair of veteran relievers, Pierce Johnson and Brad Hand, and a utility infielder, Nicky Lopez. Make no mistake, Johnson and Lopez and particular turned out to be great additions while Hand was a bit more hot-and-cold. Yet, it’s still hard to look at the moves and not think that they Braves could’ve gone after a bigger fish.

You know, someone like the Rangers got in Jordan Montgomery.

It was the worst-kept secret in baseball that the St. Louis Cardinals were trying to move Montgomery as a pending free-agent rental for a contender who had performed at least close to an ace with the Red Birds. With the Rangers, though, he’s certainly reached that status.

Over 11 regular-season starts with Texas, Montgomery delivered virtually every time out, posting a 2.79 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP, allowing just 74 base-runners in 67.2 innings. And somehow, he’s been even better in the postseason. Through five appearances and four starts, he’s got a 3-0 record with a 2.16 ERA and 1.28 WHIP.

The Braves pitching staff and depth they’d hoped to had throughout the system had been diminished throughout the year by the time the trade deadline arrived. It was clear to see this was an area to upgrade. Granted, Atlanta would’ve had to give up a haul. Given what Montgomery has been for the Rangers, though, it still might’ve been worth it.

3. Tommy Pham

One of the potential issues that many saw with the Braves lineup was the lack of consistency in left field. Eddie Rosario has had plenty of signature moments, including in the playoffs, for this team since he arrived, and Kevin Pillar has been an uber-solid veteran for a long, long time. And yet, the platoon left a bit to be desired at times.

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As the organization comes into the offseason, there is a desire to potentially upgrade in left field for that exact reason in free agency. However, to help remedy that issue right now, they could’ve done what the Diamondbacks were able to and struck a deal for another veteran like Tommy Pham.

Elephant in the room, yes — this would’ve required a trade with the Mets. There’s no guarantee that the bitter rivals would’ve been willing to do business with the Braves. At the same time, it’s an addition who would’ve helped in Atlanta.

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Pham wasn’t spectacular by any means with Arizona, but he was solid, slashing .241/.304/.415 with six home runs, 12 doubles and 32 RBI to his credit. And in the playoffs, his averages have been worse, but he’s come up in some big moments, including a tone-setting solo home run in the first inning of Game 6 of the NLCS as Arizona mounted a comeback.

Making him part of that outfield platoon for the Braves could’ve been hugely helpful.


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