The Atlanta Braves are stumbling into a good problem, if there is such a thing. Most people knew Freddie Freeman was a great first baseman to start the season. Unfortunately, on May 17, Freeman got hit by a pitch and broke his wrist. He still has four to six weeks of recovery time before he sees the field again. Because of this, John Coppolella made a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals for Matt Adams.
Since Atlanta acquired Adams on May 21, he is tied for the National League lead in home runs, with eight. In addition, he has driven in 19 runs and has 24 hits, and has done everything he can to help the Braves win games. Because of this, a problem will arise when Freeman is able to return to action. Atlanta plays in the National League, and there is no designated hitter. As a result, only one of Freeman and Adams can play at a time. This is the Atlanta Braves first base dilemma.
Atlanta Braves First Base Dilemma
There are several options Atlanta has once Freeman returns. One of the options is to keep Adams on the bench and use him to pinch hit in games when the situation arises. While this is a likely option, Adams has been too good to keep on the bench. He seems to always come up to the plate in key moments and deliver big hits. Giving him more chances at that would be the best way to utilize Adams, instead of allowing him only one chance a game to produce in high-pressure situations.
Another possibility for Adams is to keep him on the team but play him in either left field or third base. While that would require a trade of either Matt Kemp or Adonis Garcia, Coppolella has made tougher decisions in the past. Kemp seems the likeliest, due to his torrid start to the 2017 season. Teams want his bat and would be willing to give up a prospect or two, something that Coppolella wants. That would free up space for Adams to play every day and keep his bat in the lineup.
Trading Adams is a very likely scenario as well. He has more than proven he is a capable hitter at the major league level. The Braves gave up a 19-year-old, High-A third baseman for Adams. As a result, there would be no problem flipping him for a prospect or player to help the club now. An American League team would love to have a player like Adams. He can play first and DH to be productive for his team. A contending team at the trade deadline will want a team player like Adams, and Coppolella is willing to trade him if he brings a high enough value back.
While all of these scenarios could happen, the most likely would be trading Adams and getting a solid player or two back in return. Freeman is here to stay, as he is signed through the 2021 season on an affordable deal, even for the Braves. Therefore, Adams would either have to ride the bench and pinch hit once a game, or play a position he is not comfortable with. Either would hurt Adams and the Braves. Trading Adams anger some fans, but it is the best thing for both parties moving to the future.