Braves Rumors: 3 high-end rentals, 2 extension candidates to target in trades

Alex Cobb, San Francisco Giants. (Photo by Brandon Vallance/Getty Images)
Alex Cobb, San Francisco Giants. (Photo by Brandon Vallance/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Braves Rumors, Braves trade targets, Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs
Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Atlanta Braves trade targets at the forthcoming deadline could include either half-season rentals or guys to look to extend. Both could be viable options.

Under Alex Anthopoulos’ guidance, the Atlanta Braves have not shied away from making substantial trades. His M.O. in doing so, particularly recently, has been trading for players still under club control so that he can then lock them into extensions — you know, exactly what he did with Matt Olson and then Sean Murphy.

Approaching the 2023 MLB Trade Deadline, though, one has to wonder if that will be the case. The most notable need for the Braves to address is shoring up the team’s pitching, specifically in regards to the rotation. That’s projected to be a lucrative market, though. So any potential extension candidate could be extremely costly.

Moreover, with guys like Spencer Strider, Bryce Elder, Max Fried, Kyle Wright, and several other young arms returning next season, it might not also be a necessity for Atlanta. Instead, they could look at the rental options that may not only come at a cheaper cost but could also serve the organization’s purpose better.

It remains to be seen which way Anthopoulos and the front office will choose to go. So for our purposes, let’s take a look at both possible avenues with three rentals and two possible extension candidates that should all be early Braves trade targets.

Braves Rumors: 3 rentals, 2 extension candidates to target in trades

Braves trade targets No. 5: Kyle Hendricks is a low-risk, low-cost rental

Without question, the sexiest trade target on the Cubs is the club’s ace, Marcus Stroman. However, in his early trade deadline preview, ESPN insider Jeff Passan (subscription required) mentioned a lower-cost option who is also in the final year of his contract in Chicago: veteran righty Kyle Hendricks.

Hendricks began this season on the IL for the Cubs after being shut down at the end of last season, but has returned to some middling results.

Making three starts to this point in 2023, Hendricks has lasted an average of just over 5.0 innings per outing while posting a 4.70 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. It is more important to note, however, that he’s working his way back into the right groove and flashed a moment of brilliance in his second start, going 5.0 innings and allowing just one earned run against one of baseball’s most dangerous lineups in the Rays on May 30.

With an ERA of 4.77 and 4.80 and 2021 and 2022, respectively, the Braves most definitely wouldn’t be getting an ace in Hendricks. At the same time, though, they could simply be eyeing a reliable veteran who can fill out the back of the rotation and possibly be used in the bullpen come playoff time.

Should that be the case, the relative medicore performance and experience of Hendricks could not only be what they’re looking for, but it could also make the trade cost modest enough that the Braves would still retain plenty of flexibility to make more moves at the deadline.