Ender Inciarte: Would Braves move leadoff hitter?


Ender Inciarte has received a great deal of trade interest since the Atlanta Braves acquired him in a trade with the Diamondbacks. Would Atlanta move him?

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports’ Twitter account yesterday, he spoke with Atlanta Braves general manager John Coppolella. about the perceived availability of newly acquired outfielder and potential leadoff hitter Ender Inciarte. Coppolella told Rosenthal that Inciarte is actually drawing more interest than starting pitcher Shelby Miller did. Would Atlanta move Ender Inciarte before the start of the 2016 MLB season?

Getting Ender Inciarte made the deal that the Atlanta Braves made with the Arizona Diamondbacks involving Shelby Miller and 2014 No. 1 draft pick shortstop Dansby Swanson even sweeter. Atlanta not only got its new No. 1 prospect in Swanson, but it also got its new No. 4 prospect in pitcher Aaron Blair and a starting outfielder who could hit leadoff in Ender Inciarte.

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Atlanta has not had great promise at the leadoff position since centerfielder Michael Bourn‘s first stint with the Braves. Strong leadoff hitters are hard to come by in the Majors, so the Atlanta Braves may value Inciarte too much to trade him right away. However, in his short time as a general manager Coppolella hasn’t turned down any discussions involving Braves’ starters in their efforts to hasten the rebuild.

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My guess is that the Atlanta Braves will hold on to Ender Inciarte for at least the first half of the 2016 MLB season. His stock is high at the moment, but I doubt it will drop all that much even if he struggles in Atlanta, as contending teams will want a leadoff hitter that can play in the outfield as the MLB Trade Deadline nears.

However if Coppolella can pull off another trade of great returns for the Atlanta Braves, we could have even more assets instead of Ender Inciarte by the time spring training rolls around. I doubt Coppolella will pull off as stellar of a trade as he did with the Diamondbacks again, so it could be in the Braves’ best interest to make use of their newly acquired outfielder by playing him this spring.

Atlanta still has Michael Bourn on its roster who can at least pretend to hit leadoff like he once did should the Braves want to do that in 2016. The Atlanta Braves’ best position prospect in centerfielder Mallex Smith is supposedly waiting in the wing and should make his big league debut sometime this summer if Bourn or Inciarte struggle at the plate.

It’s pretty cool that Ender Inciarte hasn’t even played an inning for the Atlanta Braves and he is already drawing more interest than Shelby Miller did after a 2015 All-Star campaign. Miller had at least four teams interested in acquiring his services via a trade with the Braves.

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I get that the Diamondbacks have three years of contractual control on Shelby Miller, but what the Braves got in return may end up making this the most lopsided trade in recent baseball history. Both Swanson and Blair have high ceilings as Major Leaguers and Inciarte is a valuable piece many clubs would love to have, including the Atlanta Braves.