Braves Trade Deadline Targets

Gregory Soto, reliever for the Detroit Tigers, makes sense as Atlanta's top trade target at the deadline
Gregory Soto, the Detroit Tigers closer, should be the number Braves trade target at the August 2 deadline. Atlanta’s bullpen was a major reason the team won the World Series last year Raj Mehta-USA Today Sports

Braves Trading For Tigers Soto Makes Most Sense For Atlanta

The Atlanta Braves won last years World Series in large part thanks to an excellent bullpen. Luke Jackson, AJ Minter, Will Smith, and Tyler Matzek all had strong postseasons. The Braves suffered a blow before the season started when Jackson injured his elbow and was ruled out for the season. The team bolstered its relief core when they picked up closer Kenley Jansen from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jansen struggles with an irregular heartbeat landed him on the fifteen day disabled list. He is eligible to come of the list next Tuesday, July 12.

Jansen’s health issues and Jackson’s injury make it clear that you can never have enough bullpen depth. That’s why it makes sense for the Braves to go after Detroit’s closer, Gregory Soto. Soto is posting career bests in ERA and WHIP this season. He has saved sixteen games in eighteen chances for the Tigers. With Jansen’s health concerns, and Will Smith struggling at times this season, Soto can strengthen the Braves late inning relievers. Detroit needs prospects to continue rebuilding its club. Their best asset matches a need for Atlanta. What prospects are the Braves welling to give up to strengthen its relief core for another postseason run?

Royals Andrew Benintendi Is A Hot Commodity

Anrew Benintendi, OF of the Kansas City Royals
Jun 17, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Andrew Benintendi (16) runs to third base during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Jorge Soler plays for the Miami Marlins now. Adam Duvall is a decent defender and often an all or nothing hitter. Eddie Rosario recently came off the DL after eye surgery. Joc Pederson signed with the San Francisco Giants this past offseason. Which explains why the Braves, and many other teams, covet Kansas City Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi.

Benintendi, while not a power hitter, is hitting over .300 and his OBP of .381 is excellent as well. Trading for him gives the Braves three excellent defensive outfielders, in addition to Michael Harris and Ronald Acuna Jr. Benintendi won a Gold Glove last season as a left fielder. Given how important Atlanta’s outfield production was to its World Series win targeting him at the deadline makes sense.

Reds Castillo Makes Sense As Starter Target For Braves

How much concern do the Braves have over Ian Anderson’s struggles? Yes, his start yesterday against the St Louis Cardinals was better, but his ERA and WHIP are much higher than his first two seasons. Mike Soroka just took a comebacker off his knee, further pushing back his rehab timeline. These are two major reasons for Atlanta to target a starter at the deadline.

Luis Castillo of the Reds, due to other pitchers injuries, has rocketed to the top of contending teams wish lists. Like Anderson he too got off a to rocky start this season. Unlike Anderson his ERA and WHIP are lower than his career averages. While Atlanta’s other starters have been solid it may still be a need. There are questions about how many more innings the team will get out of Spencer Strider. Strider only pitched fifty-four innings in college, and he has already thrown 59.2 this season. Atlanta may consider moving him to the bullpen at some point to lighten his workload.

As with Benintendi and Soto the Reds will want high level prospects for Castillo. How many will GM Alex Anthopoulos be willing to part with? What does he consider Atlanta’s biggest need? How he answers these questions will go a long way to determining the Braves chances in the postseason this year.

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