The bad news is that the Washington Nationals, yet again, made a midseason move for an elite late-inning option in efforts to bolster their bullpen when they traded for Kelvin Herrera.
The good news is that doing so has yet to pay dividends for the Nationals in years past, and they just set the trade market for bullpen arms. Luckily for the Atlanta Braves, the market has not been set very high. The Nationals did not have to give up any of their highly touted prospects in exchange for Herrera’s services, who owns a 1.05 ERA on the season.
The Braves may not lock up an arm as dominant as Herrera, but they also do not need a closer. They already have a nice late-inning duo in Dan Winkler and Arodys Vizcaino. They could just use one more solid veteran out of the bullpen. Odds are, they can find a suitor willing to give up a reliever for a low-to-mid tier prospect.
The Braves bullpen has been such a pleasant surprise this year, but it has been frustrating watching the organization have to play musical chairs trying to find someone to fill the final bullpen spot. The Braves do have some internal options in Jose Ramirez and Evan Philips. However, Ramirez has missed most of the season after sustaining an injury earlier in the year and experiencing a setback in his recovery. It is a head-scratcher as to why Phillips has not been given a shot, as he owns a 1.64 ERA in 24 games.
Regardless, injuries happen, and it is a long season. It should be within the Braves means to add a solid reliever to the mix without overpaying. Third base is the clear need for this team in the short-term as the trade deadline approaches but adding one more arm could be a move that pays dividends in September or October when depth has been whittled out a bit.
Think of it as the Braves’ secondary need. It is not a sexy need, and it will not be a blockbuster deal, but this Braves team needs one more arm if they want to be serious about a World Series title. Luckily for them, they should be able to find what they are seeking for pennies on the dollar.