The Braves have struggled over the last month following a scorching hot start to the season. When that happens, some of the team’s flaws are exposed. Alex Anthopoulos has shown in the past he will look to upgrade the roster in any way possible at the trade deadline, even if it means adding to a strength. Having more options is never a bad thing, but there are two areas, in particular, the Braves should probably look to upgrade come the trade deadline, and neither should require a ton of prospect capital.
Coming into the season, left field might have been the biggest concern. There was hope that both Ozuna and Rosario could have bounce back campaigns. Ozuna has been much better of late, but he’s strictly been utilized as a DH, which is probably a good thing. The primary starter in left field has been Rosario, and he just hasn’t been getting the job done, especially against right-handed pitching, hitting just .214 with a .607 OPS.
Rosario’s going to continue to get opportunities as a starter for the next couple of months, and there’s a chance he turns it around. He’s been a streaky hitter his entire career, and Braves fans are familiar with what he’s capable of when he does get going. But for the last two seasons, Rosario has been one of the most unproductive offensive players in baseball. Combine that with his sub-par defense, and the Braves could badly use an upgrade in left field.
Unlike left field, the Braves bullpen was pegged to be a strength coming into the season, but so far, it’s been mixed results. This group isn’t as bad as they’ve been over the last month. Raisel Iglesias is still finding his groove after beginning the year injured, and AJ Minter is due for some major positive regression.
However, Joe Jiménez–one of the Braves biggest offseason acquisitions–has been a bust to this point. Lucas Luetge has also already been DFA’d. The Braves need another reliever and probably two. Perhaps AJ Smith-Shawver can remedy some of those issues, but bullpen help is not difficult to acquire at the trade deadline, and there’s no reason for the Braves to take any chances.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire