As Alex wrote about yesterday and as I’ve said on numerous occasions over the last couple of months, there aren’t a lot of moves the Braves need to make. Their offense is the best in baseball, and their pitching staff has the lowest team ERA combined between the rotation and bullpen. Not to mention, Max Fried, Kyle Wright, Dylan Lee, and Jesse Chavez are expected to return at some point.
The Braves could probably go without making a single trade and be just fine, but that’s not how great general managers operate. Alex Anthopoulos is always looking to make the team just a tiny bit more complete for October, and one more high-powered relief arm could be the cherry on top.
One candidate to keep an eye on for the Braves as the trade deadline approaches is an old friend, Kenley Jansen. In a piece for the New York Post, Jon Heyman said even though the Red Sox aren’t out of the mix for the Wild Card in the AL, people around the league believe they will end up selling at the trade deadline.
The Red Sox committed to a rebuild when they traded Mookie Betts and let Xander Bogaerts walk in free agency. They are overachieving but still in last place in the AL East. Perhaps they opt not to sell if they come out hot following the All-Star break. But if they lose any more ground, they are probably going to sell their veterans to the highest bidder, and Kenley Jansen should attract several suitors.
Jansen gave Braves fans heart attacks as the team’s closer a season ago, but he still led the league in saves, and he’s been even better this year. He owns a 3.23 ERA with a 3.05 FIP, and perhaps the most interesting development has been Jansen’s increased velocity. He’s up a full 2 MPH on both his cutter and heater, making him that much more deadly.
Jansen’s also under contract for one more season, so this would give the Braves an elite bullpen for their next two runs at the World Series. They weren’t willing to match the Red Sox’s offer during the offseason, but this wouldn’t be the first time Alex Anthopoulos let a player walk in free agency and then traded for them at the deadline. It happened with Adam Duvall in 2021, which worked out splendidly on the way to the World Series, and it could be something he considers again with Kenley Jansen.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire