Who should the Atlanta Braves trade for to bolster their starting rotation?
The Atlanta Braves may be one quality starting pitcher away from a World Series berth.
Of course, the Braves will have to do something the NL East franchise hasn’t done since 2001, which is advance in the postseason. Atlanta has qualified for the postseason nine times since 2001, but haven’t advanced since falling to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2001 NLCS. It’s the strangest year of our lives, but the last time a season was shortened, Atlanta did win it all in 1995.
The Braves have a menacing lineup. Though the strikeouts are definitely there, so is the home run power and the clutch hitting in the batting order. Defensively, the Braves are about as solid as they come across the diamond. Last season saw general manager Alex Anthopoulos rebuild to the bullpen on the fly, helping the Braves win the NL East division for the second straight season.
With ace pitcher Mike Soroka succumbing to a season-ending injury by way of a torn right Achilles’ tendon, Anthopoulos has to understand he has very little depth behind left-hander Max Fried in his rotation. Like Soroka, Fried has been fantastic for the Braves since last season. However, Anthopoulos cannot like the way the rest of the rotation looks heading into the trade deadline.
If Anthopoulos wants to give his club its best shot at winning an NL pennant since 1999, he’ll need to dial up another general manager and see if both parties can orchestrate a trade. Can the Braves get a starting pitcher on an expiring contract for a coveted prospect from Atlanta’s farm system? Who should they be looking at acquiring heading into the second half of the 2020 MLB season?
Could one of these three starters amplify the Atlanta Braves’ rotation?
You’re going to start noticing a trend here. If Anthopoulos wants to land a top-half of the rotation starter in the lead-up to the 2020 MLB trade deadline, he must look west. One team surely Braves Country would love to strike up a deal with is the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks. Does Anthopoulos have what it takes to pull off a deal for left-hander Robbie Ray?
Atlanta has robbed Arizona in a series of trades in recent years, but why not charm the Snakes one more time? No, this won’t be as impactful long-term as landing Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte for Shelby Miller or Touki Toussaint for Phil Gosselin. However, if Ray can pitch like he did at times in 2017 and 2019 down the final stretch in Braves uniform, then it could be worth it.
Arizona finds itself at 6-10 and in the NL West cellar through Aug. 9. The Diamondbacks are 5.5 games back of the first place Colorado Rockies and five games back of the second place Los Angeles Dodgers. Though they are only one game back of the Cincinnati Reds/New York Mets for the final NL postseason spot, it wouldn’t be shocking if Arizona fades in the coming weeks.
Ray will be hitting free agency in 2021, so the Braves will only be getting a handful of starts out of him if Anthopoulos were to trade for him. Though his ERA is well over 9.00 now and he’s walked 11 batters, a change of scenery to go from a pretender to a contender might be the best thing for him. However, it won’t come cheap for the Braves to trade for him, and it still may not work out.