The National League has a lot more teams that are falling out of contention than the American League, which is why I’m starting with the NL. AL is up next. With Kyle Wright and Max Fried on the injured list for what could be a while, the Braves may have to make some additions to the rotation earlier than they had planned. There are a few names I wanted to go over today, mostly from teams that probably aren’t going to be contending and may be looking to sell high on their major league talent.
RHP Alex Cobb — San Francisco Giants
The first of two Giants, San Francisco sits one game ahead of the Rockies for last in the NL West. With the Padres, Dodgers, and resurgent Diamondbacks ahead of them along with a good middle tier of the NL, they have an uphill battle for the playoffs. They could turn it around, or they could punt on the season.
If the latter is the case, the Braves need to consider pouncing on Cobb. He signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Giants, but the second year is a club option — further increasing his value. The Braves have a few young pitchers to use as trade pieces, most of them coming from the 2022 draft. The 2023 draft is also right around the corner. Cobb has a 2.01 ERA over seven starts, and his 2.95 FIP indicates that his performance hasn’t been a fluke. I’d be willing to pay a premium for him, because he could easily be very valuable in the postseason if Charlie Morton and Bryce Elder falter.
RHP Anthony DeSclafani — San Francisco Giants
Cobb’s teammate DeSclafani could be a better option for the price. Like Cobb, DeSclafani is having a great 2023 season, sporting a 2.80 ERA and only walking 0.8 batters per nine innings — best in the National League. He had a bad start to his three-year, $36 million deal in 2022, mostly due to injuries. Like Cobb, he’s owed about $12 million next year, but this isn’t a club option. He could be just as effective with a lower prospect cost, but I think both guys are worth keeping an eye on.
RHP Miles Mikolas — St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are a mess, and although I think they aren’t going to give up on their season, it’s a possibility worth considering. Mikolas has had a rough 2023, but he had been pretty consistent before that, and there appears to be a disconnect between St. Louis’ pitchers and their catcher Willson Contreras. I absolutely believe the Cardinals could rise from the dead at any moment and make the playoffs, so I’m a little less optimistic the Braves could swing a deal with them right now.
LHP Jordan Montgomery — St. Louis Cardinals
Montgomery is much more interesting to me than Mikolas right now. For starters, he’s having a much better season, sporting a 3.29 ERA with a 2.86 FIP, indicating some bad luck for him early in the year. Montgomery is a free agent after this season, but it’s possible the Braves could hammer out an extension. He could also cost less in terms of prospects as a rental. Once again, I don’t think the Cardinals are dead yet, but Montgomery is absolutely a guy to keep an eye on. He’s going to be one of my priority targets if the Cardinals continue to struggle, especially with lefties only mustering a .471 OPS against him.
LHP Kyle Freeland — Colorado Rockies
Contrary to the Cardinals, the Rockies are probably going to continue their rebuild, the question is — will they finally deal Kyle Freeland? He just inked a massive extension, so there is some risk present in assuming his $47 million until 2028. Regardless, he’s a high quality lefty who, of course, pitches much better away from Coors Field. Lefties are slashing .188/.257/.188/.445 against him, and his 2.84 ERA away from Coors is promising. I think he could be worth the gamble, especially with a Rockies organization known for getting pennies on the dollar for their talent.
Photographer: Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire
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