Braves Trade Deadline and Bullpen Issue:
Photo: Jason Getz USA Today Sports
By. Andrew Rodberg
If there ever came a time for the Braves front office to witness the hole in the bullpen that needed to be addressed, it would’ve been last night. In yesterday’s game vs the Baltimore Orioles, the Braves sent Dan Winkler to the mound with a 3-1 lead and a chance to earn his first career save. The Orioles exposed the inexperienced closer and jumped out to a 3-3 tie before Snitker pulled him and brought in Sam Freeman. To the defense of Winkler, he was in unchartered waters and the stage became too big for him as he left multiple pitches up in the zone that the Orioles batters didn’t miss. But the bleeding didn’t end there… Sam Freeman came in with the bases loaded and gave up 3 hits and 4 runs to allow the Orioles to jump out to a 7-3 lead. With the bullpen’s inability to close out games and get outs, the Braves continue to lose to teams they clearly should be beating on paper. With the Nationals making a bullpen move this past week in acquiring Kelvin Herrera (19 hits in 27.2 innings and a 0.98 ERA), Alex Anthopoulos and company must starting shopping around for a respectable bullpen arm to help the Braves if they are going to continue to fight for the NL East division title.
Below we have a few bullpen arms that could become available to the Braves in the near future:
Jesse Chavez: Currently plays for Texas Rangers. Has appeared in 23 games and pitched in 48.2 innings and has a 3.33 ERA (43 strikeouts to 10 walks)
Current Contract: UFA in 2019 $1,500,000
Jake Diekman: Currently plays for Texas Rangers. Has appeared in 33 games and pitched 27 innings and has a 2.96 ERA. (35 strikeouts to 16 walks)
Current Contract: UFA in 2019 $2,712,500
Brad Brach: Currently plays for the Baltimore Orioles. Has appeared in 30 games and pitched 29 innings and has a 3.41 ERA. (32 strikeouts to 17 walks)
Current Contract: UFA in 2019 $5,165,000
Santiago Casilla: Currently plays for the Oakland Athletics. Has appeared in 20 games and pitched in 26 innings and has a 2.73 ERA. (19 strikeouts to 15 walks)
Current Contract: UFA in 2019 $5,500,000
With none of those pitchers on massive contracts and all being UFA’s in 2019, the Braves should make a move and see if they can snag one or more of them to help solidify the struggling bullpen.