Braves acquire first-base option Matt Adams from Cardinals

General manager John Coppolella and the Atlanta Braves front office wasted little time in finding an MLB-quality replacement for injured superstar Freddie Freeman.

The franchise traded for St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams two days after news broke that a fractured left wrist will sideline Freeman, one of baseball’s premier players, for approximately 10 weeks this summer. The Braves also received cash considerations in the deal.

In return for the Cardinals staple, the Braves traded talented 19-year-old corner infield prospect Juan Yepez to St. Louis.

“We found ourselves having to play Jace (Peterson) out of position at first base, we signed James Loney, but we were really working on this one here right after the (Freeman injury) deal,” Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said. “We realized that Matt wasn’t getting an opportunity to play a lot over there. He’s got power. We like the power. He’s young. In our ballpark, we think that this is a guy that has a chance to hit some homers. We think that he can be a middle-of-the-order hitter, certainly against right-handed pitching.”

The 28-year-old Adams brings a left-handed bat to Atlanta’s lineup in Freeman’s absence. Listed at 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, Adams has hit 56 home runs in 486 career games. His slash line of .296/.340/.396 for 96 weighted runs created plus this season trails his career averages by a significant margin, though he’s only received 56 plate appearances. With standout Matt Carpenter shifting to first base and an abundance of outfield options, the Cardinals struggled to find playing time for Adams this season.

From 2014 to 2016, Adams also graded out as a plus defensive player at first with 14 defensive runs saved in more than 2,000 innings played.

Adams is under club control through the 2018 season.

“For us, as much as anything, I think this sends a message to our staff. I think this sends a message to our ballclub, to the players that are down there — you know, these guys have been grinding it out, we’ve had a tough schedule,” Hart said. “I think it sends a message to our fans that, look, we said we wanted to be an exciting club this year. We realize we’re not perfect. Our (farm) system is where we’re still emphasizing it, but this club is capable.

“It’s a very capable club and you try to protect it. And that’s what we did.”

Yepez, who was hitting league average as a teenager for Class-A Rome in 2017, signed for $1 million out of Venezuela in 2014. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak referred to Yepez as a “lottery ticket.”

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