The Atlanta Braves acquired Seattle Mariners outfielder Jarred Kelenic via trade on Sunday. The Braves confirmed the deal, first reported by ESPn’s Jeff Passan, via press release. Kelenic now gets a change of scenery after a mostly slow start to his major league career. Also heading to Atlanta are left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales and first baseman Evan White. In return, the Mariners are acquiring two right-handed pitching prospects, Cole Phillips and Jackson Kowar.
The Atlanta #Braves today acquired LHP Marco Gonzales, OF Jarred Kelenic, INF Evan White and cash considerations from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for RHP Jackson Kowar and minor-league RHP Cole Phillips: pic.twitter.com/1s5CPtFySV
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) December 4, 2023
Jarred Kelenic Traded to Braves
Kelenic was drafted sixth overall by the New York Mets in 2018. That offseason, he was traded along with several other players to Seattle in exchange for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. He quickly climbed up MLB’s prospect rankings, reaching fourth on the MLB.com list before his debut in 2021.
Despite this early hype, Kelenic has had a bumpy road in the majors. In 2021, he only hit .181, striking out 106 times in 93 games, although he did contribute 14 homers. The next season, Kelenic got off to a rough start and the Mariners eventually demoted him to the minors. As a result, he only played in 54 major league games. In those games, his average dipped even further to .141.
Last season, Kelenic finally started getting a feel for playing at the major league level. He played in 105 games, and his average jumped to .253. He also set career highs with 49 RBI, 25 doubles, and a .746 OPS. While these numbers don’t jump off the page, they indicate that Kelenic could be poised to take the next step. Joining a National League powerhouse like Atlanta could help him raise his game to an All-Star caliber. David O’Brien of The Athletic reports that Kelenic will compete for their left field job with Vaughn Grissom, and platooning the two is a possibility.
#Braves plan to have newly acquired Jarred Kelenic, a LH hitter, compete with Vaughn Grissom in left field in what could be a platoon, with Grissom also available to play infield when needed. Alex Anthopoulos said the Braves are done with left field now, not looking to add there.
— David O’Brien (@DOBrienATL) December 4, 2023
Gonzales, a veteran starter, and White, a 2020 Gold Glover, bring additional major league experience to the Braves in the deal. On Seattle’s end, Kowar was a first-round pick in 2018, and Phillips was a second-rounder in 2022. Kowar pitched in 39 games for the Kansas City Royals from 2021 to 2023. Phillips has yet to make his big-league debut.
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