Ranking the top 3 starting pitcher trade targets for Braves

MLB: AUG 23 Brewers at Dodgers

With Aaron Nola and Sonny Gray off the market, it’s getting more and more likely that the Braves have to turn to the trade market if they want to land the frontline starting pitcher they desire. There are still several free agents available, but Atlanta’s unwillingness to get in bidding wars for starting pitchers isn’t something new. It is how they operate, and while it may change for the right guy, there’s no guarantee the right guy is currently available in free agency.

The right guy could be available in a trade, though. As of right now, there are three potential aces that could be dealt before the start of next season. All of them should interest Alex Anthopoulos, who has made nearly all of his big splashes via trade rather than competing with other teams in free agency.

3. Tyler Glasnow

Robert Murray has reported there is a “99% chance” Tyler Glasnow is dealt before next season.

It makes sense because the Rays owe him $25 million next year, and they’ve never committed that much money to any play for one year. Because the Rays refuse to pay anyone, they develop players and trade them away to the highest bidder, and Glasnow is just the next in line.

Of the three players on this list, Glasnow is as talented as any of them, but there are a couple of reasons he’s in third by a wide margin.

The most significant being his injury history. Glasnow has been in the league since 2016, yet has only made over 20 starts one time (last year) and has never eclipsed 120 innings. That has to make Alex Anthopoulos nervous, considering all of the injuries the Braves have suffered to their rotation in recent years. They very well could want more of a sure thing.

On top of that, Glasnow only has one more year of control. Perhaps the Braves could convince him to an extension, but then again, would they really be eager to sign a player to a long-term contract with such an extensive injury history?

2. Corbin Burnes

Corbin Burnes is undoubtedly the most decorated player on this list, and if you put him at #1, I wouldn’t have any problem. He’s finished inside the top eight of the NL Cy Young race in each of the last four seasons and won the award back in 2021.

Burnes is a true ace who’s about to get paid in a big way following the 2024 campaign. The Brewers are reportedly open for business on all of their players, and if they can’t work towards an extension with Burnes, it seems like there’s a high possibility he will be dealt.

If you’re the Braves, there’s not much to like about Burnes. He would instantly give Atlanta the most dominant pitching staff in baseball to go along with the best offense, making them heavy favorites going into 2024.

The only issue with him is that Burnes only comes with one year of control. He’s also a Scott Boras client, meaning an extension is unlikely. Burnes is going to want to test free agency and make an ungodly amount of money, but if the Braves win a World Series in 2024, it won’t matter if he walks.

1. Dylan Cease

Like the Milwaukee Brewers, the Chicago White Sox are reportedly listening to offers on all of their players, and nobody is more coveted than Dylan Cease. On top of that, Bob Nightengale of USA Today even reported yesterday that the Braves are one of several teams trying to land him.

Cease isn’t coming off the best of seasons. He posted a 4.58 ERA and 3.72 FIP in 2023, but the White Sox aren’t necessarily known for making the most of their talent. Cease also finished second in the AL Cy Young race in 2022, posting a 2.20 ERA and 11.1 K/9

Stuff wise, few can compare to Cease. He also comes with two more years of control, and even though he’s a client of Scott Boras as well, the fact that he is from Milton, Georgia could make it more likely that the Braves can extend him. It won’t be cheap, but it’s a lot easier to imagine that happening than the Braves extending Corbin Burnes. As a long-term option, Cease makes the most sense by a country mile, which he clocks in at #1 on this list.

Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

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