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Braves Briefing: How does Marco Gonzales impact Atlanta’s rotation?

Braves acquire outfielder Jarred Kelenic, pitcher Marco Gonzales as  Mariners dump salary – KXAN Austin

Atlanta made a big splash Sunday night. How does it impact the rotation?

The Atlanta Braves pulled off a huge trade to kick off the MLB Winter Meetings.

On Sunday night, the Braves agreed to a trade that allowed them to acquire outfielder Jarred Kelenic, left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales and first baseman Evan White from the Seattle Mariners.

In return, they gave up right-handed pitchers Cole Phillips, one of their top prospects, and Jackson Kowar, who was recently acquired from Kansas City to Seattle in the deal.

Now with Gonzales on the roster, it opens up an interesting conversation about what the start rotation could look like in 2024. Right now, we don’t expect Gonzales to force anything among the top four pitchers in Atlanta’s rotation but a battle for the fifth spot could be a key storyline early in the season.

Here’s what we are looking at regarding Atlanta’s potential starting rotation.

Max Fried
Spencer Strider
Charlie Morton
Chase Elder
Reynaldo López or Marco Gonzales

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Waukesha native Jarred Kelenic traded from Seattle to powerhouse Atlanta Braves

Jul 19, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners left fielder Jarred Kelenic (10) runs toward first base after hitting a single against the Minnesota Twins during the seventh inning at T-Mobile Park.

Waukesha native Jarred Kelenic, a 24-year-old who still has potential to be one of the top young outfielders in Major League Baseball, was traded Sunday night from the Seattle Mariners to the powerhouse Atlanta Braves, part of an eye-opening exchange in the early days of the league’s annual Winter Meetings.

Kelenic, left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales and infielder Evan White went to Atlanta in exchange for right-handed pitchers Jackson Kowar and Cole Phillips.

Kelenic, who rose through the Mariners organization as one of the top prospects in the minors, has now been traded twice in his career. The sixth overall draft choice by the New York Mets in 2018, he was dealt late that year to Seattle in a deal that brought Robinson Canó and Edwin Díaz to the Mets.

It looked like a steal for Seattle for a while, though Kelenic hit some speed bumps in his first two below-average MLB seasons in 2021 and 2022. He bounced back this past season, posting a .253 batting average, .746 OPS and hitting 11 homers with 13 stolen bases in 105 games. His season was shortened when he broke his foot kicking a cooler in the dugout.

White, coincidentally enough, was one of five players to receive a big-league contract extension before appearing in an MLB game, before the Brewers gave Jackson Chourio a record extension this offseason. White won a Gold Glove at first base as a rookie in 2020 but hasn’t been in the big leagues since 2021 with well below average offensive numbers in his career.

Kelenic will now likely get to play left field for Atlanta, a team that won 104 games in 2023 to post the best record in baseball.

Kelenic attended Waukesha West and became the highest-drafted Wisconsin high-school player in history.

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