Atlanta Braves Should Avoid This Trade Deadline Target

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 23: Jose Quintana #62 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on June 23, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 23: Jose Quintana #62 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on June 23, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Braves are red hot and are looking to make the playoffs yet again with a solid roster primed to get them there

If the Atlanta Braves want to take the next step and ensure continued success, they have the option to upgrade at the trade deadline that is approaching quickly.

Fortunately for the Atlanta Braves, they have arguably a solid enough roster that they do not have any glaring holes. However, good teams don’t just fill holes, they upgrade their roster even if some of their players that are being upgraded would start on another team.

What is an area the Atlanta Braves could upgrade?

One area of the roster that stands out as one that could use an upgrade, as well as depth, is starting pitching.

Ian Anderson is struggling (5.09 ERA, 1.537 WHIP), Charlie Morton has done better as of late, but has struggled this year by his standards (4.34 ERA, 1.241 WHIP), and Mike Soroka just suffered a setback in his rehab taking a comebacker off his knee.

A top of the line starting pitcher would not only go a long way in the regular season to help with depth, but a 1-2-3 punch in the playoffs would be a massive boon for the Atlanta Braves already having Max Fried and Kyle Wright pitching like aces.

There should be staring pitchers available with teams like the Reds, Pirates, and more struggling and looking to accelerate a rebuild.

It is just as important to not trade for the wrong players as it is to trade for the right one

In the Atlanta Braves situation, they are not just looking for a player that can fill a void, or take over a 5th starter role. If the Braves were to make a trade for a starting pitcher, it would be for a player that would be a top tier arm. Because of this, it is important that if the Braves do make a trade, they trade for a player that truly will be an upgrade.

The Atlanta Braves should avoid trading for this intriguing trade deadline target

The Pirates look to be a team that will be contacted about a multitude of players, with them yet again struggling to even have a .500 record.

One player that really stands out as a player that could be intriguing to potential suitors, and has been floated around social media as a target for the Braves, is José Quintana.

Quintana’s surface numbers look great with an ERA of 3.33 (27% better than league average), with a 1.284 WHIP. Combine this with him being free agent in 2023, and he seems to be a perfect rental player to target since he will not break the bank in a trade in comparison to players with multiple years of team control left.

There are serious red flags in Quintana’s game though, which the Braves should be weary of. First, Quintana has been in the league since 2012, and he has never finished a season with an ERA+ this good. That does not always mean a player will regress, but it is something to consider.

Even with his ERA low, his walks per 9 innings are higher than his career mark (2.8 and 2.6 respectively), and his strikeout to walk ratio is lower than his career mark (2.96 to 3.05 respectively). His WHIP is also right on par with his career numbers with this season and his career both being 1.284.

Just look at surface numbers alone, it looks like he will regress back closer to what his career ERA is (3.81). Of course, there are quite a few variables in play as well.

If look at his peripherals, it paints an even gloomier picture for the rest of his season.

According to Statcast his expectancy stats are not that of a front end starter:

·         Expected Weighted On Base Average Against (xwOBA) – Bottom 31% of the league

·         Expected ERA (xERA) – Bottom 31%

·         Expected Batting Average Against (xBA) – Bottom 20%

·         Expected Slugging% Against (xSLG) – Bottom 31%

·         Solid Contact Against (Barrel%) – Bottom 33%

These numbers are obviously concerning. If we factor in these peripherals, his expected ERA is 4.38 which is a full 1.05 points higher than his surface level ERA with hitters having an expected batting average of .280, and slugging of .465 against him.

At the end of the day, no one can take away from his performance to date. It has been impressive.  However, this numbers suggest that over time, there is a high probability that he will regress hard.

The Pirates will obviously want to try and capitalize on his 27% better than league average ERA, and will most likely try to trade him since he will walk at the end of the year anyway.

dark. Next. Upcoming Milestones for Braves Players

There is a good chance that another team will be more than happy to acquire Jose Quintana. However, with the position the Atlanta Braves are in, it just simply does not make sense to gamble on Quintana maintaining his current ERA when there are other options that make more sense to pursue.