The Braves received more devastating injury news today, as Max Fried will hit the IL with a forearm strain. Thankfully, at least for now, reports suggest he avoided any damage to his UCL, so Tommy John isn’t on the table right now. With that being said, this is expected to be a lengthy absence for Fried. He’ll be shutdown completely then have to ramp up his workload in the minors before returning.
Given Kyle Wright likely isn’t returning anytime soon either, the Braves all of a sudden have a need for another starting pitcher. Neither Jared Shuster or Dylan Dodd look like they are ready to be permanent contributors to the rotation just yet. Michael Soroka is an option, but he’s far from a guarantee, and the Braves still would need a fifth starter. Is there anywhere else they can turn?
Jake recently came up with five trade targets from the National League to keep an eye on, and he’ll have five more coming from the American League tomorrow. I like where his head is at and believe several of his potential targets make a lot of sense for the Braves. I’m just not sure they will be available for trade for at least another month or so.
Finding a trade partner in May is damn near impossible, especially now with three Wild Card teams. Every club still feels like they have a chance at the playoffs, and even if they don’t, they aren’t in a rush to make a deal. If a worthwhile starter was even made available for the Braves, they would likely have to significantly overpay to make a trade happen. It’s highly unlikely they can swing a deal this early in the season.
Last week, I talked about three potential free agent options the Braves may inquire about after Kyle Wright hit the IL. With Fried now also out for a while, I would be pretty surprised if they didn’t at least attempt to bring in a veteran. Those three candidates were Madison Bumgarner, Julio Teheran, and Chris Archer.
If this were 2015, that would be a helluva rotation. But let’s be real; these guys are available for a reason. Bumgarner was awful for three years after signing a lucrative contract with the Diamondbacks. His best baseball is well in the rearview, and I’m not even sure if he’s a major-league pitcher anymore. A desperate team, which the Braves are right now, will likely give him another shot, but I’m not confident he will be an upgrade over someone like Dylan Dodd or Jared Shuster.
Julio Teheran has only made one major-league start since 2020, when he posted a 10.05 ERA with the Angels. Chris Archer is probably the best option of the three I named, but his 4.56 ERA over 25 starts last season for the Twins isn’t exactly inspiring.
I expect the Braves to explore all of their options. They are that desperate, but it’s not like there are any game-changers available for the taking. In all likelihood, the club is stuck hoping Soroka can return to form sooner rather than later, and one of Dodd or Shuster can prove to be a decent fifth starter for the time being.
Photo: Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire
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