Braves named potential trade suitor for AL Cy Young frontrunner

MLB: JUN 19 Tigers at Braves

The Braves are now 11 games over .500 following a come-from-behind, extra-innings win over the Diamondbacks on Monday. With the trade deadline creeping up, most of the conversation will surround what Alex Anthopoulos will do to improve a shorthanded club with World Series aspirations.

This begins a short series highlighting individual trade targets who CBS Sports’ R.J. Anderson¬†mentioned the Braves as potential suitors for, beginning with the highest-profile starter potentially on the market.

Tarik Skubal, LHP, Tigers

Skubal is the frontrunner in the AL Cy Young race, but there’s no guarantee that the Tigers trade him. However, a decision certainly looms for Detroit to either extend him or trade him.

“Be aware that he’s closing in on free agency (winter 2026) a lot sooner than the Tigers might like given their uncompetitive state,” Anderson wrote.

The 27-year-old southpaw has a 2.32 ERA and 132 strikeouts, top five marks in the MLB, with a major-league leading 0.900 WHIP. Skubal would immediately slot into the Braves rotation at the top, giving Atlanta the best 1-2-3 in baseball with Max Fried and Chris Sale.

However, the reason the Tigers would entertain trading him is the haul of prospects he will garner. With two seasons of team control after 2024, Skubal will cost an arm and a leg, which is why I don’t see the Braves being interested.

Max Fried, Chris Sale, Reynaldo Lopez, and Charlie Morton are slotted in Atlanta’s rotation right now, but Spencer Schwellenbach, one of the club’s top prospects, looks primed to carve out a permanent role. Hell, if trends continue, Schwellenbach could end up bumping Morton down to the fifth spot in the rotation. He’s been that good. I didn’t even mention A.J. Smith-Shawver and Ian Anderson, who are making their way back from injury.

On the flip side, teams can never have enough pitching, and the Braves know that better than any. More often than not, they’ve been shorthanded going into October, and injuries can quickly pile up.

Moreover, the future of the rotation is in doubt. Max Fried is in the final year of his deal; Charlie Morton’s retirement is looming, and Spencer Strider is coming off a major injury. If Alex Anthopoulos decided to fix tomorrow’s problem today with Tarik Skubal, I don’t think anyone in Braves Country would mind.

A trade package would likely begin with two of the Braves’ top pitching prospects and then some, but a proven commodity like Skubal might be worth it in AA’s eyes.

Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire
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