It’s no secret that the Braves desperately need rotation help. They have their #1 guy in Max Fried, but they will need at least one if not two or three more starting pitchers to step up if they want to be competitive come the postseason.
The problem is none of these young arms appear ready to carry the load of a #2 starter, so if the Braves are going to find the answer, it will most likely have to come via the trade market, which could potentially be very dry this season. So many teams will be holding on to their hopes of making an expanded 16-team playoff, and even the ones willing to sell will be skeptical of prospects they haven’t been able to scout. Remember, there is no minor league season.
Still, a trade is possible, but it will probably have to revolve around known commodities, consisting of current major leaguers and top prospects. The Braves have a handful of those, and recently, Alex Anthopoulos said he would be open dealing one or multiple of them for the “right guy.”
Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos on whether he would trade a top prospect for a starting pitcher: "Sure. If it’s the right guy.”@TheAthleticATL @TheAthleticMLBhttps://t.co/TfB0RKYgQo
— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzATL) August 19, 2020
Now, that’s the typical close to the vest answer you’ll get from anybody in the Braves front office regarding trade talks, so there’s no suggestion that they are currently in discussions with top prospects on the table. However, what is the definition of the “right guy?”
Alex Anthopoulos’ goes a little bit further in Schultz’s article:
“Of all the trades we’ve examined over the years, the biggest hang-up for us has been we haven’t gotten a lot of (salary) control back,” he said. “There’s only been one deal where we had a chance at a real controllable player, but the ask was too high. We’ve made deals for rental players. We’re willing to give up more if we feel like we have a real chance to sign that player back. But if you feel like you’re going to have the player for a month and it’s going to take one of your top prospects, those deals are hard to make.”
This rings especially true in a shortened season, with a 16-team playoff that begins with a best of three series, where it feels like a crapshoot. If the Braves are going to trade a player like Pache, Waters, or Anderson, it will have to be for a starting pitcher with multiple years of control and a reasonable track record of success. After all, the Braves don’t just need pitching this season; they will need it for years to come because who knows when, or if, any of these prospects will pop. If they can add a talented starter with several years of control to pair with Max Fried and Mike Soroka, there’s no better time to do it than right now.
Photo: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire
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