Three All-Stars the Braves could target at the trade deadline

MLB: JUN 10 Padres at Rockies

The All-Star Game takes place tonight, which prompted’s Mark Feinsand to highlight six All-Stars that could be traded at the deadline. Now, the Braves don’t have the farm system or the need to make a blockbuster trade, but there were three names on this list that make sense if their teams decide to sell.

The first is one of the best closers in baseball on the final year of his deal that is playing on a vastly underachieving club out west in the San Diego Padres.

Josh Hader, LHP, Padres
Hader has been one of the best relievers in the game since he debuted in 2017, yet 2023 might be his finest season yet. The lefty finished the first half with a 1.08 ERA and 21 saves in 35 appearances, holding hitters to a .133 average and a .426 OPS.

The 43-47 Padres have been among the league’s biggest underachievers this season, and if San Diego — which sits six games out of a Wild Card spot and 8 1/2 games back in the NL West — finds itself further out by the end of the month, Hader could find himself wearing another uniform as he approaches free agency this offseason.

Hader is back to being the best closer in baseball, and if the Braves have one need, it’s a bonafide stud reliever that can ease some pressure off A.J. Minter and Raisel Iglesias. Hader is on the final year of his contract, so if the Padres fall any further out of the race, it would make a lot of sense for them to deal him. He would be my dream trade deadline target for the Braves, but they might not be willing to give up that kind of prospect capital for a rental.

Michael Lorenzen, RHP, Tigers
The Tigers’ disappointing first half (39-50) hasn’t erased them from the postseason picture thanks to a middling AL Central, as Detroit entered the break only 5 1/2 games out of first place.

Lorenzen is playing on a one-year, $8.5 million contract, so if the Tigers can bring back a prospect in return for the 31-year-old, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the right-hander — who has a career-low 5.7 walk percentage (20 walks in 87 innings) — dealt to a contender for the stretch run.

Lorenzen isn’t really an All-Star, but every team has to have one, so he got the nod for the Tigers. If the Braves were looking for an innings eater to put at the backend of their rotation, he shouldn’t cost too much in terms of prospects.

The last name on this list might be the best option of them all, David Bednar of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

David Bednar, RHP, Pirates
An All-Star for the second consecutive season, Bednar would be one of the top closers available at this year’s Trade Deadline if the Pirates chose to make him available.

The 28-year-old ranks in the top seven percentile in a number of Statcast categories, including whiff percentage, walk percentage, expected batting average and chase rate, helping him to a minuscule 1.27 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP and 17 saves in 34 appearances. The Pirates enter the second half eight games out of the final NL Wild Card spot and 8 1/2 games behind the Reds in the NL Central, and with three years of club control remaining, Bednar represents one of Pittsburgh’s best trade chips.

I know I said Hader is my dream target, but Bednar might be even better. He’s blossomed into one of the league’s best closers and still has three more years left on his deal. That makes him that much more enticing, but it also makes him that much more difficult to acquire. The Pirates have all the control. They don’t necessarily have to deal him this year or even next year. It will basically take the Braves entire farm system to make a trade for Bednar. That’s the price for cost-controlled All-Stars.

Photo: Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire


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