The Braves came into the offseason with three areas that needed to be addressed and have done just that with the trade of Jarred Kelenic along with the acquisitions to the bullpen — Joe Jimenez, Pierce Johnson, Aaron Bummer, and Reynaldo Lopez.
However, the rotation has gone somewhat untouched. Alex Anthopoulos did bring back Charlie Morton, who mulled over retirement, but many expected there to be an outside addition, hopefully of the frontline variety.
That hasn’t come to fruition yet, and it might not. It’s not for a lack of trying, though. Anthopoulos confirmed the club has been in on multiple free agents and trade targets. Things just haven’t worked out for one reason or another.
Still, that doesn’t mean one can’t come forth because the Braves have plenty of open spots on the 40-man roster. With not many inspiring options on the free agent market, AA could turn to the trade market, which is robust with potential targets for Atlanta.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic recently examined the state of the starting pitcher trade market, and several names should interest the Braves.
The top of the market has current and former Cy Young talent — Dylan Cease, Corbin Burnes, and Shane Bieber.
Rosenthal notes that the Braves are among clubs that are monitoring the situation surrounding the White Sox ace, but Chicago seems inclined to wait until the top free agents sign deals. He seems like the most likely of the three to seriously interest Atlanta’s GM because of his two years of team control at a cost-effective rate.
The same goes for Burnes, according to Rosenthal. The Brewers want to see how the rest of the market shakes out before pulling the trigger on a trade, but he also seems likely to be moved if an extension cannot be worked out.
Rosenthal notes that there is less demand for Bieber, which is understandable, given his recent elbow issue and dip in fastball velocity. For several reasons, he doesn’t seem like a probable target.
The Braves also might not have to look very far for other possible trade targets. As Rosenthal notes, Marlins starters Jesus Luzardo and Edward Cabrera continue to draw interest.
Both have multiple years of control. The former has three and the latter has five. Miami and Atlanta have made deals in the past, the most notable being Adam Duvall at the 2021 trade deadline. Some might not believe it’s not plausible, but Rosenthal added new president of baseball operations Peter Bendix is more open to trading a starter than Kim Ng.
A familiar face in Houston could also potentially help his former club. Dana Brown and Alex Anthopoulos are close, and Rosenthal reports executives are monitoring the possibility of the Astros trading left-hander Framber Valdez.
Rosenthal also brought up some less attractive targets like Tristan Beck and Keaton Winn, who made their major-league debuts last season for the Giants. Another pair of righties that teams are inquiring about are Ben Brown and Hayden Wesneski of the Cubs.
With a surplus of bats, the Braves could potentially dangle the likes of Vaughn Grissom, Marcell Ozuna, or Travis d’Arnaud in front of some of these offense-needy clubs for a starting pitcher.
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