The Braves got a quality start from Sean Newcomb, five runs from their offense, and yet they fell to the Reds on Wednesday as the relief corps struggled mightily. Sam Freeman allowed three runs, two hits, and a walk in 2⁄3 of an inning, relinquishing the lead and placing the pressure back on an offense that was without catalyst Ozzie Albies. The loss stings in part because it dropped Atlanta from a 3-3 homestand, which is palatable even against two bad teams, to 2-4, which is not. The Braves may soon dip into the relief pitching market if these instances become more frequent.
The Braves moved top prospect Mike Soroka to the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday, signifying that the right-hander is dealing with an injury much more serious than in his previous DL stint. In addition, Atlanta called up RHP Wes Parsons, sending Matt Wisler to Gwinnett. Parsons has enjoyed a very successful season in Double-A Mississippi as well as Triple-A Gwinnett.
Parsons has battled injury throughout his career but has pitched well this season. He began 2018 at Double-A Mississippi where he allowed four runs in 29 1/3 innings. He has made six starts for Gwinnett and has a 2.83 ERA in 35 innings.
The Braves closer, Arodys Vizcaino, is reportedly set to return to the team on Sunday in St. Louis. His return comes at a time when Atlanta has seen just how difficult it can be to thrust new candidates into the closer role. Daniel Winkler has seen his effectiveness wane considerably, and the lack of depth in the bullpen has forced the usage of Lucas Sims and Luke Jackson. Vizcaino will be a welcome sight in the ninth inning whenever he makes his return.
The trade market is heating up, and Manny Machado is at the center of many trade discussions around the league. He is rumored to be a top target of multiple clubs, including the Phillies and Dodgers. The Braves received no mention with regards to Machado or Josh Donaldson, but were included among a group of teams expected to seek bullpen help.
Rosenthal mentions the Orioles, White Sox, Reds, Tigers, Marlins, Mets, Padres, Rangers and Blue Jays as clubs that are expected to be selling relievers, and the Astros, Indians, Angels and Braves among the contenders likely to be seeking bullpen help.
Per Rosenthal, the market will be especially heavy on mid-level options whom clubs are likely to view as having similar value, so sellers will need to keep their demands realistic and be aggressive.