The additions of Jonny Venters and Brad Brach probably won’t be the difference between the Braves making the playoffs or not.
They will be, however, a much-needed addition for a bullpen that has really struggled in recent weeks. And considering the Braves were extremely limited in what they could do on the international market this year, using slot money — and not prospects — to bolster the bullpen is a savvy move by Alex Anthopoulos.
As we near the trade deadline (4 p.m. ET on Tuesday) all options should be on the table. The Braves are yet to use a single prospect to acquire help for the playoff push. In theory, they hold all the cards. I’m confident they could acquire any player on the market given their wealth of high-end prospects, but there’s really no major pressure to do so.
We’ve heard that some prospects, like Luiz Gohara, may be used to acquire a starting pitcher. We’ve also heard the Braves will not use their plethora of pitching prospects to gain additional bullpen help, although I’m not necessarily sure that will be the case if an elite reliever with control is on the table.
With the Braves linked to everyone from Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer to Detroit’s Mike Fiers, it’s safe to say Anthopoulos is looking everywhere for pitching help. Someone like Adrian Beltre, assuming he is open to waiving his no-trade clause, could also fit in Atlanta. A right-handed bat would make sense to hit behind Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis.
It’s been frustrating to watch talented players go elsewhere, but so far Braves fans have to feel pretty content with where things stand. None of the top-tier pitching prospects have been moved, and that could change at any minute. If the asking price for Archer is sky-high and it isn’t worth the prospect cost, then it wasn’t for a lack of trying. The last thing the Braves need to do is go all-in this year after 3+ years of rebuilding.
In the meantime, the Braves added two reliable relievers for a minimal cost. They’re in a better spot now than they were 48 hours ago. The next two days should be a lot of fun.