Braves three biggest needs following recent trades

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I wasn’t sure the Braves were going to be extremely active leading up to the trade deadline this year. They have the best lineup in baseball, and even though their pitching staff is far from perfect, they’ve been as good as anyone else in the league. Throw in the fact it’s a seller’s market and the Braves don’t have a lot of trade chips, and it’s a recipe for a relatively quiet trade deadline. However, we are still a week away, and Alex Anthopoulos has already made his first splash, dealing with the Rockies for Pierce Johnson.

Beyond that, Anthopoulos told Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution GM that he may not be done adding. Despite Atlanta owning the best record in baseball, Anthopoulos still sees room to improve, and it looks like he’s been given the go ahead to make whatever moves necessary.

The Braves probably don’t have the prospect capital to make a blockbuster trade, but I’m not putting anything past Alex Anthopoulos. He likes to zig while the other GMs are zagging, and the Sean Murphy trade this past offseason was a perfect example — upgrading an already loaded position group.

The benefits of that deal speak for themselves, so don’t be shocked if has a trick or two up his sleeve. Here are the three remaining areas I could see the Braves upgrading over the next week.

3. Left Field/DH

This one is a little outside the box, but I could see the Braves upgrading their situation in left field. Rosario leaves a lot to be desired defensively. His bat is above average, but he’s also very streaky. Upgrading defensively and adding a bat of equal value could help this team tremendously. It would also give Brian Snitker a lot more options to choose from when making the lineup card each night, allowing him to platoon Eddie Rosario, Marcell Ozuna, and Travis d’Arnaud in the DH spot. I wouldn’t call it a need but don’t count it out.

2. Closer/Set up man

I could rank these next two 1A and 1B, but because the Braves did add Pierce Johnson, I’ll put the bullpen at second for now. Johnson helps with the overall depth of this group, and I believe he will be much better than he was with the Rockies. There might not be a deeper bullpen in all of baseball with him in the fold. Still, I can’t help but dream about how this relief core would look like with one more lights out reliever in the same category as A.J. Minter and Raisel Iglesias. It doesn’t have to be a closer, but just imagine if the Braves upgraded in the ninth inning and allowed everyone to slide down a spot. They would be damn near unbeatable anytime they got a lead.

1. Starting Pitching

This one is more about safety than anything. Max Fried hasn’t pitched in three months, Kyle Wright won’t return until September at the earliest, and Bryce Elder has experienced some hiccups of late. I think Fried will be just fine, but if something were to happen to him, Charlie Morton, or Spencer Strider after the trade deadline, the Braves would all of a sudden find themselves in a dicey situation. With a team this good, that’s not a necessary risk they have to take. Adding another high quality starter would ease all of those worries.

Photo: David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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