Braves Rumors: Josh Donaldson reunion, top free agent target, playoff roster snub

  • A veteran trending toward a playoff roster snub
  • Potential Braves top target for free agency
  • Could a Josh Donaldson reunion be in play?
Atlanta Braves, Josh Donaldson
Atlanta Braves, Josh Donaldson / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages
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Braves Rumors: Collin McHugh could be left off playoff roster

The only thing that the Atlanta Braves have left to play for in terms of the playoffs is whether or not they can clinch home-field advantage throughout the NL postseason. Sure, mathematically, they have not locked up a playoff berth or the NL East officially, but with a 12.5-game division lead, that's all but inevitable.

That also means that tough decisions for paring down the playoff roster are looming. And in the interest of taking the right guys on the hopeful path to the World Series, one veteran bullpen arm is trending toward being a shocking omission from the postseason: Collin McHugh.

McHugh is sitting at the end of August with a 3.88 ERA and 1.54 WHIP over 40 appearances this season, but has gotten worse as the year's gone on with a 5.79 ERA in July and a 7.20 ERA over his last three outings. This, to be fair, was somewhat expected given that, despite having better numbers, his xERA was above 5.00 in June.

But the unreliability from McHugh, as highlighted by Sam Peebles of Battery Power, could lead to the veteran righty getting left off of the playoff roster. As Peebles broke down, McHugh has not adjusted with his sweeper despite the pitch's ineffectiveness overall this season. Moreover, the totality of the situation has resulted in him having the worst strikeout and walk rates of his career.

Perhaps manager Brian Snitker would still value the moxie and experience of McHugh. But playoff baseball is so often about versatility or an elite skill set. Right now, McHugh offers neither to the Braves bullpen, which could ultimately lead to them exploring other options for relievers in the postseason.