4 high-leverage arms the Braves should already be targeting before trade deadline

The Braves may look to bolster their ailing bullpen before the deadline. One of these impact arms might make a brilliant addition.
Houston Astros v Washington Nationals
Houston Astros v Washington Nationals / G Fiume/GettyImages
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There isn’t a hint of doubt that the Braves are a postseason team. As it stands today, the Braves are a lock to make it into October. But, for the past couple of years, the Braves relief corps has had its moments, both good and bad. They are currently 11th in bullpen ERA this year (12th overall in team ERA).

This inconsistency coming from the bullpen won’t keep them from going to the postseason but it can be very problematic when they get there. Most of the top names in relief pitching are either on postseason-bound teams or teams that figure they’re close enough, thus, giving up a valuable reliever is not in their best interests. So, let’s look at some relief arms from teams that would benefit from a good rebuild to find any potential matches for the Braves.

Disclaimer: All stats are current as of 04/24/2024

Mason Miller

Emmanuel Clase, Edwin Diaz, Josh Hader, Devin Williams… these four top-notch closers have one thing in common: name recognition that comes as a result of consistent relief corps excellence. By the end of the year, we will hear the name Mason Miller being used in this context. The Oakland A’s haven’t made too many headlines outside of moving to Las Vegas (first to Sacramento, then to Las Vegas). But there are a few reasons to pay attention to the A’s.

Mason Miller is one of them. Baseball Savant clocks his average fastball velocity at 100.7 mph, but he has shown he can consistently throw it around 103 with wicked movement. He uses it the most of his three-pitch mix: four-seamer, slider, and changeup. His fastball is paired with his high-eighties, wipeout slider that appears to be a fastball nearly letter-high before it drops almost to the dirt. His changeup has only been thrown twice this year. While rare, it is still a plus pitch in his arsenal. But what about the results?

Last year (his first in the majors), in 33.1 innings, Miller’s ERA was 3.78. This was throughout 10 games, six of which he started. But this year, he is a reliever only and has already seen much more success in his new role. As a former starter, Miller can go more than one inning per appearance. In 10 innings through eight games, Miller has a 1.80 ERA with 20 strikeouts.

That’s two strikeouts per inning. But don’t let these stellar numbers fool you, it gets even better. The only blotch on his record this year comes from his first appearance of the season where he gave up two runs in an inning of work. Since that day on March 31, he hasn’t given up a single run.

What would the Braves need to give up for Miller? The cost would likely be very hefty as Miller might be the MLB’s best reliever by the end of the year. His contract expires after the 2029 season. As with other flamethrowing relievers, Miller is prone to injury. However, this will likely have no impact on his overall value. The A’s are 4th in the AL West this season and have missed the postseason since 2020 after losing to Houston in the ALDS.

They will need to move a few players to be competitive. However, with several years of control, Miller might be one they want to keep. If this isn’t the case and should any team pay the price, they would gain a valuable arm under their control leading up to the 2030s, and that might be worth it.