Braves: Five way-too-early trade targets to replace Spencer Strider

MLB: APR 02 Giants at Dodgers

The Braves are facing every team’s worst nightmare, losing their ace in April. There’s not much they can do about it right now. Trades this early in the season almost never occur for a number of reasons. The hope is that one of the Braves younger arms can establish themselves as a viable replacement for Spencer Strider, which isn’t even fair because nobody — not even at the trade deadline — can replace one of the best pitchers in baseball. But if the young arms continue to struggle, or God forbid another injury takes place, the trade deadline will allow them to add reinforcements.

Here are five names to keep an eye on:

Michael Soroka

How about a reunion to begin the piece? Michael Soroka was outstanding in Spring Training and earned a spot at the top of the rotation for the White Sox out of camp. He’s struggled to begin the season, owning a 6.14 ERA over his first three starts with an even more unsightly 3.7 K/9. There needs to be a lot of improvement before he’s considered a trade candidate for any team, but I wouldn’t rule it out. What Soroka needs most is reps, and if he’s performing well by the time the trade deadline rolls around, there will be many interested clubs. He’s set to be a free agent at the end of the season, and the White Sox aren’t going to be competing for the playoffs this year, making him an ideal target for contending teams if he turns things around.

Dylan Cease

Cease was one of the hottest names of the offseason, and the Braves were connected to him often. Ultimately, the price tag proved to be too grand, and the Padres struck gold after the new year. Cease is off to a red-hot start with his new team, boasting a 2.16 ERA and 10.8 K/9. By the time the trade deadline rolls around, he’ll have a year-and-a-half left on his deal, and the Padres are hoping to compete. There’s no guarantee he’ll be available, but San Diego had a lot higher hopes last season with Juan Soto and ended up trading him in the offseason. If things go south in a loaded NL West, they could be looking to sell, and Cease will be one of the hottest names on the market.

Blake Snell/Jordan Montgomery

Don’t ever say I don’t do anything anything for you, because we got a two-for-one special. The reason I lumped these two together is because they are two of the best pitchers in baseball that got screwed by Scott Boras this offseason and settled for one-year deals with player options. They also both signed with NL West teams, Snell with the Giants and Montgomery with the Diamondbacks. The Giants and Diamondbacks have playoff aspirations, but there’s a high likelihood that one of them finds themselves on the outside of the NL West race come the trade deadline. If that happens, they are likely to make their high-profile pitcher on a one-year contract available.

Jack Flaherty

Flaherty was a hot name at last year’s trade deadline and was ultimately dealt to the Baltimore Orioles. The results weren’t great, as Flaherty struggled and the Orioles were bounced in the first round of the playoffs. He then signed a one-year deal with the Tigers in the offseason. The days of Flaherty being an ace are long gone, but if he turns it around in Detroit, he could once again be a popular name in a few months.

Lance Lynn

I would love to sit here and say the Braves are going to go balls to the wall after an ace to replace Spencer Strider, but the reality is that’s not likely. Alex Anthopoulos is all about value, and it’s very difficult to find value at the trade deadline for top notch starters, which is why he’s never done it as the Braves general manager. If the Braves do add to the rotation at some point, it will likely be for a veteran, and Lance Lynn could be an option. I don’t see the Cardinals being competitive this season, and he’s off to a fantastic start with his new team, recording a 2.63 ERA and 11.1 K/9 after a couple of down years.

Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

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