Possible Atlanta Braves bullpen trade targets: a pair of birds

Orioles relief pitcher Cole Sulser fits the profile of someone who could improve the Atlanta Braves bullpen. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Orioles relief pitcher Cole Sulser fits the profile of someone who could improve the Atlanta Braves bullpen. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

As we continue to look at possible trade targets for the Atlanta Braves, it’s hard to choose between this next pair.

There is a general criteria in use are we’re surveying rival bullpens in the hunt for a new Atlanta Braves reliever:

  • Member of a non-competitive team (i.e., a “seller”)
  • Consistent use by their team, record of durability
  • Solid results
  • Low walk rate, WHIP
  • Experienced
  • Relatively easy/cheap to acquire; having extra team control is a bonus
  • Not the “big names” that would be tougher to get

It’s hard to get all of these in a single package, but one overriding consideration is certainly this:  pitchers who are performing better than some others that the Braves already have.

That’s the case as we take a look toward the Baltimore Orioles… and rather than choosing one of their relief arms…. let’s check two of them:  Paul Fry and Cole Sulser.

Both of these guys are striking out hitters at a very high rate:  12-13 batters per 9 innings on average.  Their walk rates are edging toward the high side (~4 per game), but the K/BB ratio is still excellent.

Accordingly, their WHIP rates are low enough:  1.1 to 1.2, and that would be good enough to rank 3rd and 5th among Atlanta relievers with 15+ innings.

PAUL FRY might be the less appealing option for Atlanta, given that he’s a lefty (and we have plenty of southpaws already).

He will turn 29 during trade deadline week, and has been an Oriole at the major league level since 2018, logging 146 innings and 153 games.

His ERA this year is 3.68 with thirty game appearances already (29.1 innings).  While that ERA seems high, he’s only allowed runs during 5 outings — three of those responsible for the inflated ERA.  The Jays, Rays, and Astros abused him, but hardly any other team has touched him.

He’s faced the minimum (or less!) in 12 outings and could be retained all the way through the 2024 season.

COLE SULSER is a 31-year-old right-hander who actually has more team control… through the 2025 season.

This thanks to limited appearances since breaking into the majors in 2019 with the Rays.  He’s been an Oriole since 2020 and has thrown 29 innings in 26 games this season.

Sulser’s got the better WHIP (1.138) and ERA (2.17) of this pair of birds, and like his stablemate, has limited the damage well:  earned runs allowed in just 5 appearances.

Sulser also provides strong credentials as a “shutdown” guy:  he’s faced the minimum number of batters 8 times and in 7 other appearances, he’s allowed just 1 base-runner.

If there’s a knock on Sulser, it’s about walks:  10 outings have seen him walk a batter.  Still, it’s hard to argue with the results, particularly given the schedule the Orioles have had to endure.

dark. Next. A Cajun Country Slider Man

So there’s another couple of arms worth considering for the Braves.  Again, these profiles are for pitchers you might not know well, but if ease of acquisition is an issue — and it probably is — then the Braves could do a lot worse.