Braves acquire pitching depth in trade with Rays

Daniel young Braves

The Braves announced today that they have traded for right-handed pitcher Ben Heller from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for cash considerations. In a corresponding move, they have designated outfielder Nick Solak for assignment.

Heller appeared across four seasons for the Yankees from 2016-2020, although sparingly. He only has 31.1 major-league innings under his belt, and his 2.59 ERA is a little deceiving, considering he owns a FIP of 5.57. After being released in September of 2020, he signed a minor-league deal with the Diamondbacks, but a stress fracture in his elbow caused him to miss over a year.

In 2022, Heller signed with the Twins before being released after some porous performances with their AAA affiliate. He then signed with the Rays this winter, spending this season with the Durham Bulls. Over 27.1 innings, Heller has recorded a respectable 3.95 ERA with an 11.2 K/9 in AAA. He was selected to the active roster on May 24th but never made an appearance for the Rays before being designated for assignment a few days ago.

With Soroka heading back to AAA, and AJ Smith-Shawver taking his place in the rotation, the Braves could use another bullpen arm. Heller’s a decent option that can eat some innings in a pinch, and the Rays have been known to work magic with their pitching staff. Hopefully, he learned a thing or two while he was with their organization and can make an impact in Atlanta. You can never have enough arms, as the Braves have had to learn the hard way early on in the year due to injuries.

Photographer: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire

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