The Braves bullpen in May has looked significantly better than they did in April. They have found a ragtag bunch of arms capable of doing the job, and Luke Jackson continues to thrive as Atlanta’s full-time closer – now up to seven saves on the season. Sean Newcomb has also revived his value to the team as a relief arm that can go multiple innings if need be. However, that hasn’t completely stopped the bullpen from blowing late-inning leads.
Yes, games are lost by more than one player. Yes, we can always score more runs. However, having a multi-run lead late in the game should hold more times than not. The loss to St.Louis on May 26th was an implosion by Dan Winkler (one-run lead in the bottom of the 8th), and the blow up in San Francisco was due to Luke Jackson missing his spots (three-run lead in the bottom of the 9th). While I think both of these guys are integral pieces of the bullpen, these are two recent examples that show this group’s improvement is still not enough to get the Braves over the hump and win their first World Series since 1995. The glass half full view of the situation: There are plenty of places Alex Anthopoulos can turn for upgrades.
Trade For Shane Greene
Shane Greene bolsters a 1.23 ERA, has 16 saves (second in all of baseball), and is on a one-year, 4 million dollar contract for an abysmal Tigers team who could benefit from our deep farm system. Detroit is already 16 games back of the biggest surprise in baseball – the Minnesota Twins – and Greene is posting the best numbers of his career. It may be wise for the Tigers to sell high and fast.
Trade for Sean Doolittle
Sean Doolittle is the only shining piece of a struggling Nationals bullpen. Washington has been a non-factor in the division thus far, and rumors are already circulating about them trading their best players. Perhaps an upcoming sweep at the hands of the Braves might speed up their decision making. Although, I doubt the Nationals will be keen on aiding their division rival. However, Doolittle would provide a much-needed arm, especially if he can return to the same form he was in last year where he had a 1.60 ERA with 25 saves.
Sign Craig Kimbrel
I know you’ve seen it before. I know many people have talked about it. But seriously, why is Craig Kimbrel still on the market? I am aware his asking price is high, but he has been the most desirable reliever in baseball for a decade now. Just a reminder on how dominant Kimbrel is: 7x All-Star, Rookie of the year, a career ERA of 1.91, youngest ever to reach 300 saves, finished top 10 in Cy Young voting five times and top 15 in the MVP award twice. According to recent reports from Jim Bowden, the Braves’ brass is seriously evaluating both Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel. I’m not so sure Atlanta needs Keuchel, but It’s time to get Kimbrel a Braves jersey (preferably for cheaper than his current asking price).