The trade deadline is fast approaching and things have changed a lot for the Braves in recent weeks. Initially, it looked as if Atlanta was set to get several reinforcements without even having to make a trade. But recent updates surrounding Ozzie Albies and Mike Soroka, along with a season-ending injury to Adam Duvall, have the Braves looking much weaker than they did a week ago. There are undoubtedly some holes that need to be filled leading up to the trade deadline, but a weak farm system will make filling all of them impossible. So where should Alex Anthopoulos be most concerned ahead of the trade deadline?
The Braves bullpen is arguably the best in the majors, and it should only get better as guys continue to get healthy. Tyler Matzek and Kenley Jansen have recently returned, and Kirby Yates could join them as he progresses in his rehab. But you can never have too many arms, and relief help is generally easily attainable right before the trade deadline. For that reason, I actually think it’s very likely the Braves target a bullpen piece over the next week. But as far as the biggest need, it comes in last on our list.
3. Second Base
I have this at three because I believe Ozzie Albies will be back around September. If that’s the case, I’m alright sticking with a platoon of Orlando Arcia and Robinson Canó. It’s not ideal, but there’s also not much of a reason to give up valuable prospects for a player that might not even play a substantial role down the stretch. I wouldn’t mind the Braves targeting a utility guy, though, just in case.
2. Starting Pitcher
Because of Ian Anderson‘s struggles, a lot has been made about the Braves upgrading their rotation before the trade deadline. It would be nice, especially if the Braves could add a frontline guy like Luis Castillo. Who wouldn’t want an arm with that kind of stuff? But the reality is it’s not a necessity. Max Fried, Charlie Morton, Spencer Strider, and Kyle Wright is a helluva top four, and teams only need four starting pitchers during the postseason.
The fifth spot in the rotation is a bit of a black hole right now, but I’m not ready to completely give up on Ian Anderson, and I’m also okay with giving Kyle Muller, who is dominating in AAA, an extended look. We’re talking about a fifth starter. Unless the Braves upgrade with a frontline option, I don’t see them in the market for starting pitching, which is typically incredibly expensive at the trade deadline.
Before the Adam Duvall injury, an argument could have been made that adding another outfield/DH option was the Braves’ biggest need leading up to the trade deadline. Now, I don’t even think it’s a question. Rosario hasn’t been that good since returning, and Ozuna has probably been the biggest disappointment on the Braves this season. I’m also a bit worried that William Contreras could hit a rookie wall at some point. Adding another high quality bat that can play the outfield or DH is a necessity. It also wouldn’t hurt if the Braves traded for a player that was versatile enough to play second base, like Ian Happ, killing two birds with one stone.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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