The Atlanta Braves are in a crucial spot right now. They are contending for their division a year or two earlier than many predicted they would. But here we are, 2.5 games out of first place and contending. The Nationals are steadily fading in the rearview mirror, and it’s shaping to be a two-team race down the stretch with the Phillies. The time is now for Atlanta, but the front office has been lackadaisical as we approach the trade deadline July 31.
The areas that have the most need are what is resulting in the race with Philadelphia remaining close. The starting rotation needs one more good arm, the bullpen needs a TON of help, and a little more power from the third base spot could have the Braves running away with the NL East by September.
Julio Teheran–starting pitcher for Atlanta– has not been pitched up to par with the rest of the staff, frequently giving up five runs or more within the first four innings of his starts. This puts games out of reach for the offense. The Braves need to move him for potentially another starter or a good reliever.
But they’ve dragged their feet. Padres relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber were traded to the Indians, Orioles closer Zach Britton is off to New York to join the Yankees, and Manny Machado landed in LA as a Dodger. All of these are moves Atlanta could’ve realistically pursued to bolster the team for a big playoff push.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) July 27, 2018
Who do they add though? Jonny Venters. The former Atlanta reliever is being brought back from the Rays for an international signing spot. Now this DOES address the needs in the bullpen, but he is 33 years old with a 3.86 ERA in only 14 innings thus far in 2018. The real issue is that Venters has had three full Tommy John surgeries along with a partial reinforcement on the UCL in his throwing arm. That arm could go at any point. If Venters works out, then great. He could be a solid left-handed reliever to set up Vizcaino in the 9th with a lead. But at this point, this move doesn’t make sense to many.
There are a couple of names circulating the Braves rumor mill that could beef up the starting rotation. Chris Archer of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Marcus Stroman, starter for the Toronto Blue Jays. They are both currently having the worst seasons of their careers, but a fresh start in Atlanta could possibly revitalize either of these two exciting young pitchers and bring an extra great arm to an already solid rotation.
The Braves can win now. A tight race in the East calls for moves to be made. With only a few days left until the deadline, and Atlanta having some needs now, we could be seeing some new faces at any time.