Ex Braves reporter on potential trades following Spencer Strider injury

MLB: SEP 06 Cardinals at Braves

Like many teams early this season, the Braves are facing a nightmare scenario with one of their top pitchers going down in Spencer Strider.

Following last Friday’s start, the club’s ace admitted to some elbow discomfort. An MRI later revealed damage to the UCL, which usually means Tommy John surgery and 12-18 months away from the game. As of now, the Braves have placed him on the 15-day IL with a UCL sprain as they await a second opinion.

The feeling, though, is that Spencer Strider will likely miss the rest of the season, which is just about the worst-case scenario for the Braves. Alex Anthopoulos went out and bolstered the rotation significantly this offseason, and the early returns are promising. But without Strider, the level of concern has risen significantly.

On Foul Territory, Ex Braves reporter Kelly Crull joined the show to discuss what to expect from Alex Anthopoulos if Spencer Strider is to miss the rest of the season, and she believes the Braves general manager will be aggressive at this year’s trade deadline.

It’s too early to really tell what Alex Anthopoulos might do at the trade deadline because of the varying factors that will play into his approach.

Chris Sale hasn’t pitched a full season in five years. Charlie Morton is 40 years old, and Max Fried has been known to visit the IL from time to time. If any of those arms suffer a significant injury, trading for another starting arm goes from a luxury to a need.

A lot of it will also depend on who is available and if any of the Braves’ other young arms can rise to the occasion. Bryce Elder should be getting an opportunity soon, and AJ Smith-Shawver might not be far behind. Ian Anderson is another name to consider as he returns from Tommy John surgery later in the year. Any one of them could be pivotal to the Braves success down the stretch.

As of now, I have two thoughts. There isn’t a pitcher in baseball that’s going to be able to replace Spencer Strider. He was the overwhelming favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award. Those kinds of arms rarely come on the market, and if one did, the Braves don’t have the kind of prospect capital to swing a trade of that measure.

The other thing to consider is Alex Anthopoulos. This is a guy who is all about value, and at the trade deadline, it’s difficult to find good deals for high-quality starting pitchers because they are in such high demand.

That’s not going to change anytime soon, especially with expanded playoffs and so many pitchers going down with injuries. Anthopoulos has never made a big trade deadline deal for a starting pitcher, and the rotation has always had concerns. I would argue that if Max Fried, Chris Sale, and Charlie Morton can stay healthy, this is still one of the best rotations the Braves have had in some time.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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