Bleacher Report has a blockbuster trade deadline prediction for Braves

MLB: APR 08 Marlins at Yankees

The Braves have been without Spencer Strider and Sean Murphy for most of the season, and Ozzie Albies recently joined them on the IL last week. That’s three All-Stars down, but despite that, the Braves keep on winning. They own the National League’s best record at 15-6 and are once again on pace to win over 100 games, which they’ve done in each of the past two seasons.

However, because they’ve already lost their ace for the season, the trade deadline will continue to be a hot topic of discussion. The rotation has been a problem in October over the last two years, and things aren’t going to be any easier in 2024 without Spencer Strider. Unless… the Braves swing a blockbuster trade to replace him.

It’s not Alex Anthopoulos’ M.O. He’s yet to complete a massive deal involving multiple top prospects for a starting pitcher, especially in the middle of the season, but losing Strider undoubtedly puts some more pressure on him to do something, which is why Tim Kelly of Bleacher Report has the Braves going big and trading with the Miami Marlins for Jesús Luzardo.

With Spencer Strider out for the season, the Braves need to add front-line starting pitching as much as any contender in the league. President of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos might prefer a right-handed option to go with lefties Max Fried and Chris Sale, but beggars can’t be choosers. If Luzardo is the best pitcher available, the Braves need to be in on him.

The Braves overall need for a frontline starter is a bit overblown at the moment. Max Fried is still an ace, don’t let the early-season struggles fool you. Chris Sale also looks like a more than capable #2, and Charlie Morton is coming off the best start of the season against the Texas Rangers. Add in Reynaldo Lopez, who has been the Braves’ best starter through three turns through the rotation, and that’s a very formidable top four.

However, a lot can happen between now and the trade deadline. If another injury arises, the Braves could really start to look desperate. They can’t just punt seasons during the prime years of this championship window, and Alex Anthopoulos should also be thinking about the future as well.

Max Fried is a free agent at the end of the season. Chris Sale has one more year guaranteed year on his deal, and Charlie Morton is likely heading towards retirement. The Braves don’t really have any starting pitchers slated to be in Atlanta long-term outside of Spencer Strider, who is coming off a torn UCL for the second time in his career.

Miami doesn’t need to trade Luzardo, but the club could maximize its return for him this summer, because of the lack of other enticing options on the market and his having a few remaining years of team control.

Bendix won’t get his entire wish list, but the Braves have such a loaded lineup and a clear need to add pitching, so they may be willing to overpay a bit.

Miami should make Atlanta say no on giving up pitcher Hurston Waldrep, the Braves’ No. 2 overall prospect. Pitcher Spencer Schwellenbach, shortstop Nacho Alvarez Jr. and catcher Drake Baldwin are among the other pieces in the Braves farm system that could make sense as part of a trade package for Luzardo.

I’m hesitant to acknowledge a deal like this with the Braves could happen because of everything Kelly just said. The Marlins don’t need to trade Luzardo because he is under team control through 2026. The only way they are going to deal him within the division is if the Braves overpay, and that’s just not something Alex Anthopoulos has been willing to do since becoming the team’s general manager.

It’s more likely the Braves take a look at their historically great offense and bet that their bats don’t go to sleep in October, hoping their lineup can lift them up, much like it did in 2021 when the Braves pitching staff wasn’t in nearly as great of shape as it is this year.

Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

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