The Braves disappointed many fans at the trade deadline by neglecting their rotation. It’s been a question mark all season due to injury, and it’s also a primary reason why the team was bounced in the NLDS at the hands of their division rival in 2022. Another high quality starting pitcher would have eased a lot of concerns, but there are two primary reasons why Alex Anthopoulos abstained from pulling the trigger.
Lack of options and high prices
With so few teams deciding to sell, the options for the Braves to choose from were scarce. The top two pitchers that ended up being traded were Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander from the Mets. There were rumors the Braves had interest in Verlander, but the Mets were never going to give the Braves a fair price and help them win another World Series, so that wasn’t a realistic option.
The other high quality starting arms dealt were Lucas Giolito and Jordan Montgomery, both of whom are on the final year of their respective contracts. The asking price was a top 100 prospect and then some. The Braves only have one of those — AJ Smith-Shawver. Moving a talented 20-year-old that’s already reached the majors for a couple of months of someone like Giolito, who was just shelled by the Braves to the tune of nine earned runs, would have been a terrible baseball decision. That’s something desperate ball clubs do, which is why he ended up with the Angels.
The health of two key horses
As fans, we don’t know the entire story, especially when it comes to the health of the players. Alex Anthopoulos, on the other hand, is familiar with every detail. He’s well aware of how Max Fried is feeling ahead of his first start on Friday and whether there should be any worry about lingering issues. The same can be said for Kyle Wright.
I expect Fried to come back as strong as ever. It might take him a few starts to find a groove, but there is plenty of time between now and the postseason. Anthopoulos also had some interesting comments yesterday on Kyle Wright, who he seems to believe will be back this season. He’s currently on track to return in early September, which leaves him plenty of time to get ready for the postseason. The Braves only need four reliable starters come the playoffs, and if everyone is healthy, it’s possible they have five without even making any moves at the trade deadline.
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