The Braves were able to snap a 4-game losing skid on Thursday afternoon to improve their record to 62-33. They remain one of the favorites to bring home a World Series championship in 2023 but will still be shopping for options that could put them in a league of their own.
Here are three players that could do just that.
1. Josh Hader
To date, the Braves bullpen is banged up. Kolby Allard, Nick Anderson, Jesse Chavez, Dylan Lee, and A.J. Minter are all on the injured list. In addition to not being healthy, the Braves bullpen has looked shaky at times since the all-star break.
Josh Hader was one of the best closers in the game with the Milwaukee Brewers from 2017-2022. He was dealt to the San Diego Padres in 2022 where he struggled heavily. His ERA in a Padre uniform rose to 7.31 in 19 appearances.
In 2023, Hader has returned to form, collecting 23 saves and posting an ERA of 1.00 in 36 innings pitched. He has also punched out 54 batters this season.
Hader could provide more stability in the closer role for Atlanta and give Rasiel Igelasis a chance to move to a setup man.
There's no doubt Hader would make any team better but his asking price will be STEEP. The Braves may not be able to package what the Padres would want for Hader, hence why Hader in Atlanta would be a dream.
2. Cody Bellinger
Michael Harris II and Ronald Acuna Jr. have center field and right field under control for the Atlanta Braves. Left field could use some improvement and nothing against Eddie Rosario, Sam Hilliard, and Kevin Pillar, but these guys fit in better as role players.
Cody Bellinger has played the majority of his innings as a center fielder, but could easily make the transition to left. Bellinger is on a 1 yr/$17.5 million deal with the Cubs. He is hitting .311 with 12 HR and 35 RBIs this season.
The power of the left-handed swing Cody Bellinger possesses would immediately fit in with the rest of Atlanta's sluggers. Truist Park as a home stadium for a hitter like this would be a dream as well with the way the ball carries out to right field in the Chop House.
Bellinger is a trade target that is a little more realistic given his current contract and Cubs sitting at 45-50. They may consider moving him before he walks and they get nothing in return.