The MLB Trade deadline came and went Monday with the Atlanta Braves standing pat except for the addition of left-hander Tommy Milone on Sunday. Atlanta was rumored to be chasing help for the starting rotation and perhaps an upgrade for the bench but nothing came to fruition.
Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos cited a climate where there were many more buyers than sellers and that the team was unable to line up on a potential deal. He added that adding payroll wasn’t a factor, but the team was unwilling to meet the price tag to make a meaningful addition. Anthopoulos said that teams were looking for young talent that was already major league ready and that wasn’t something the Braves were interested in doing.
So with no reinforcements coming, the Braves will be forced to look to within to fill their holes particularly in the starting rotation. Anthopoulos provided updates on Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb Monday saying that Foltynewicz has gained weight and that his velocity was up having touched 94 mph in a recent outing at the alternate site. Newcomb has made some adjustments as well.
The most immediate impact could come from Kyle Wright or Bryse Wilson. Anthopoulos said that Wright has looked good in two outings and that they would give him one more before deciding where they are at. Also said Wilson was throwing better.
The big takeaway was that guys like Wright, Wilson and even Foltynewicz and Newcomb were given opportunities and didn’t take advantage of them but they are going to get another one.
That isn’t the worst idea for someone like Wright for who there would be more benefit in throwing every fifth day over someone like Robbie Erlin or Josh Tomlin. If Wright struggles then one of those guys can always replace him. My thoughts on Newcomb are that he would come back as a multi-inning relief option but we will have to see.
Anthopoulos has been very protective of the Braves youth and has resisted trading any top prospect since taking over as GM. While that may not sit well with some, particularly given the current situation with the starting rotation, that has been his plan since he arrived and it shouldn’t be surprising now.
With that said, if they are going to be protective of that youth, then it is time to find out what they have. The stretch run is here and the Braves need to be compelled to go with their prospects and give them opportunities to sink or swim. Atlanta has gotten a lot of mileage out of guys like Josh Tomlin but running him and others out there ahead of some of their top young pitchers isn’t helping anyone.
The Braves stood pat on making any trades, they can’t stand pat on giving their top prospects a chance any longer.