Do the Braves actually need anything at MLB trade deadline?

MLB: JUN 14 Braves at Tigers

The Braves are the hottest team in baseball, winners of 11 straight series, but the MLB trade deadline is rapidly approaching. Will Alex Anthopoulos make any acquisitions? Do the Braves even need anything at the deadline?

The offense is clicking on all cylinders. Atlanta’s lineup occupies three of the top five spots — Ronald Acuna Jr., Sean Murphy, and Matt Olson — in OPS across the league. Four positions — catcher, first base, second base, and right field — are on pace for 40+ home runs and another three could hit 30+ long balls.

It’s not only set 1-9, but the bench also features several contributors. Kevin Pillar finds success every time he’s in the lineup, and Travis d’Arnaud would start on most other teams. The offense doesn’t need addressing.

The rotation has held its own, especially considering Max Fried and Kyle Wright‘s respective absences. The league leader in wins and Cy Young runner-up have essentially been out of the rotation for the entire season, but the starters still boast a 3.77 ERA, which ranks seventh across all of baseball. It’s a testament to the depth of the entire roster as well as the contributions from Bryce Elder, Charlie Morton, and Spencer Strider.

Moreover, that unit should be getting reinforcements very soon. Max Fried had his first rehab start on Friday and is on track to return around the end of the month.

Fried, Strider, Elder, and Morton is a formidable starting rotation. With Michael Soroka, A.J. Smith-Shawver, Kolby Allard and Jared Shuster waiting in the wings, it doesn’t need addressing.

The bullpen has performed equally well. Its 3.03 ERA ranks fourth in all of baseball and second in the National League. Combine that with the rotation, and the Braves have the best pitching staff in baseball, in terms of ERA.

Despite those numbers, the Braves could still use another high-leverage arm. Kirby Yates has experienced a career resurgence, and Nick Anderson has turned the clock back, but will they be able to keep up that level of production? A.J. Minter and Raisel Iglesias are the only arms I absolutely trust, but that’s a subjective point.

Then, there are the likes of Dylan Lee and Jesse Chavez returning from injury. The latter was performing at an All-Star level, and the former has been solid his entire career in Atlanta. The Braves have plenty of arms that are contributing at a high level this year as well — like Yates, Anderson, Joe Jimenez, Ben Heller, and Michael Tonkin, but it’s the one area I see Alex Anthopoulos potentially making a priority at the trade deadline.

It’s not a dire need, but a loaded bullpen is a weapon that cannot be understated come October, and the Braves have the potential to make that happen with one more worthwhile addition.

Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire


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