What is the Braves’ top need leading up to the trade deadline?

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The Athletic recently went through all 30 teams and determined whether they would be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. Unsurprisingly, the Braves were listed as buyers, as they aim to become the first team since the 2000 Yankees to repeat as World Series champions. However, what caught my eye was David O’Brien’s part regarding what the Braves’ biggest need is leading up to the trade deadline.

The Braves’ top need is an experienced starter and/or reliever. They can’t be certain of what to expect from Mike Soroka after missing two seasons recovering from a twice-torn Achilles. Also, Spencer Strider pitched only 96 innings in his first season of pro ball in 2021. Because he has been highly effective both in relief and as a starter, he’s likely to surpass that total by mid-August.

To be fair, I don’t think the Braves have very many needs. In fact, if Ozzie Albies continues to progress from his fractured foot, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Braves stood pat at the deadline. They are that loaded in all phases.

However, if there is one area I could see them upgrading, it would be the bullpen. The saying “you can never have enough pitching” couldn’t be more spot on. Despite the Braves having the best bullpen in the majors on paper, it could always be better, and another right-handed reliever would take the unit to another level.

As far as a starting pitcher goes, I find the Braves targeting one to be highly unlikely, as I recently stated in another article. The only type of rotation piece Anthopoulos should even be considering is a frontline option, and there just aren’t many of those out there. Sure, adding a guy like Luis Castillo would make the Braves better, but how much better?

A top-four of Max Fried, Charlie Morton, Kyle Wright, and Spencer Strider is about as good as it gets. Ian Anderson also shouldn’t be counted out, and who knows? Mike Soroka could provide something once he returns; although, as O’Brien stated, I’m not expecting anything. Whatever Soroka brings to the table will be icing on the cake. Still, that’s six really solid options, and you only need four come October.

Considering the state of the Braves farm system, I just don’t see adding a frontline starter — which is typically extremely expensive at the deadline — as a realistic possibility. I could be wrong, but it’s much more likely and perhaps even more beneficial for the Braves to add to their bullpen before the trade deadline.

Photo: David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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