The Braves probably regret not retaining Duvall last winter, and their attempts to reacquire him at the deadline have reportedly been unsuccessful.
In the midst of an inconsistent but overall productive 2021 season, Adam Duvall is being pursued by multiple contending teams prior to Friday’s trade deadline. That unsurprisingly includes his former employer, the Braves.
However, they will not be able to pry him away from the Marlins, insider Craig Mish reports:
I can help with this one. Miami is not dealing anyone to Atlanta. So option #2. https://t.co/MG4GQM5H9W
— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) July 28, 2021
Through 90 games spread across all three outfield positions, Duvall has slashed .229/.275/.481 (104 wRC+) and ranks second among MLB outfielders with 68 runs batted in. Even with FanGraphs’ lukewarm evaluation of his defense, he has contributed 1.1 fWAR, his highest mark since 2017; Baseball-Reference views him more favorably (1.8 bWAR).
When Ronald Acuña Jr. was playing at his usual superstar level, the Braves had been struggling to surround him with additional quality outfielders. In the immediate aftermath of Acuña’s season-ending knee injury, the club traded for the Cubs’ Joc Pederson, who has 2 HR and a .743 OPS through his first 11 games with Atlanta. But there’s still a fit for Duvall, either as a platoon partner for Pederson or as their primary right fielder, sliding Pederson over to his more familiar left field spot.
Duvall initially joined the Braves three years ago, struggling down the stretch in 2018 but providing valuable power hitting for them in 2019 and 2020. They had the right to retain him for this season via arbitration. The combination of his expected pay raise and the presence of top prospect Cristian Pache as a strong internal replacement candidate led them to non-tender the 32-year-old.
The Braves regret that now. Duvall has eight extra-base hits and 17 runs batted in against Braves pitching in 2021 (leads all players in both categories). For the first time in many years, Miami has a winning record head-to-head vs. Atlanta (7-6) with six more games remaining between them.
Meanwhile, Pache has missed significant chunks of this season due to groin and hamstring injuries. Even when healthy, his offensive struggles (-6 wRC+) made him unplayable for the three-time defending NL East champs.
Mish describes the odds of Duvall getting traded this week as a coin flip. The Marlins have enough uncertainty about their outfield already and could attempt to retain him for 2022 either via the mutual option in his contract or by negotiating a new free agent deal if he opts out.
Mish’s reporting also seems to rule out the possibility of Starling Marte becoming a Brave. Earlier on Wednesday, he singled out the Yankees, Giants and Astros as suitors for the impactful center fielder.
It’s been nearly five years since the Marlins and Braves last linked up in a traditional two-team trade (reliever Hunter Cervenka for prospects Michael Mader and Anfernee Seymour).