Trades are starting to come in droves as the deadline approaches, and the first significant domino fell last night when the Angels traded a couple of their top prospects for Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. It was a substantial haul for the White Sox for a middle of the rotation rental and an above average reliever, which sets the bar for other sellers moving forward.
ESPN recently did a piece on “deals we would like to see” prior to the trade deadline, and the Braves were mentioned a couple of times, one of which would be a massive blockbuster.
Schoenfield: The rich get richer — as is often the case at the trade deadline. With some minor concerns about their rotation depth at the moment, the Braves don’t want to go into the postseason with uncertainty in that department. Yes, they somehow made that work in 2021, but Stroman would be a great addition for October. As a bonus, they can acclimate him to the organizational culture and perhaps make a pitch to re-sign him as a free agent.
If the Cubs decide to sell, Stroman would be arguably the top starting pitching target in the league, and Chicago would be foolish not to move him. He’s going to opt out for a new deal at the end of the season and would command a haul of quality prospects as the Cubs continue to rebuild.
The idea of Stroman in Atlanta is a fun one for Braves fans. It would give them undoubtedly the best rotation in baseball, especially with Max Fried coming back. Stroman’s been one of the more consistent arms in the league since his rookie season in 2014 and is coming off the second All-Star appearance of his career.
However, I don’t see how this trade is possible for the Braves, unless the Cubs are looking for a similar return as the one the White Sox got for Giolito. That could be like the Braves parting ways with Vaughn Grissom and some other prospects, but my guess is that Chicago will be looking for more. As long as the Cubs don’t ask for AJ Smith-Shawver, there’s a chance, but in this market, they can probably find a trade partner that better suits their needs than the Braves.
Atlanta traded for Taylor Hearn and Pierce Johnson this week, adding depth to its bullpen. In a teleconference afterward, Alex Anthopoulos said that Hearn gives them some bullpen length and an optionable lefty, which the Braves didn’t have. Johnson gives them a little more swing-and-miss ability from the right side, which Anthopoulos believed the Braves were light on. All of this is to say: This is a really, really good Braves team, one with a roster so complete that it can make microfocused moves like that. I feel like Flaherty has a lot to prove and I’d love to see what tweaks he would make with a new team. Not bagging on the Cardinals here, but sometimes a change of scenery is just what a player needs, especially in a contract year. The Braves would acquire a veteran with perhaps untapped upside who would give them coverage if the injuries to Max Fried and Kyle Wright become ongoing problems.
This is a deal I find much more realistic. Flaherty was once considered an up-and-coming star, but injuries have derailed his career. He’s healthy now, but the results have been inconsistent. There’s certainly some semblance of upside, and at the very least, he can eat some innings for the Braves down the stretch. Flaherty also shouldn’t cost too much, given he’s a free agent at the end of the season. This is the type of trade I think the Braves will make if they do end up acquiring a starting pitcher at the trade deadline.
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