Atlanta Braves Need To Seriously Consider Adding More Pitching Depth

Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins
Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

After the Braves lost a 2-1 heartbreaker in Oakland despite a solid peformance from starting pitcher Bryce Elder, it is becoming more apparent that the Braves need to address their pitching and bullpen struggles. The Braves bullpen has thrown a 4.08 ERA (17th in MLB) and is tied in second in the league for blown saves, with 12. Bullpen depth has been one of the key issues with the the Braves recently and with a road trip to the Arizona Diamondbacks and a home series versus the New York Mets coming up, the Braves could be in some trouble.

The Braves have made some moves with their pitching roster recently, but they really could use some more help when it comes to pitching. Dylan Dodd, while showing promise, needs some more time in the oven. A.J. Minter has struggled significantly this season with a 6.93 ERA this season and tied for third in the league with blown save by a pitcher. Michael Soroka, who pitched for the first time in over three years this series, might need to some time to readjust to the game.

With the bullpen's struggles recently it seems like the team has to rely on the starting pitching rotation, with the likes of Elder, Spencer Strider, and Charlie Morton, to help get the job done, but even then the Braves' starters can only do so much. It doesn't help either that Max Fried and Kyle Wright are on the IL and will be out for an extended period of time. On top of that, the pitching has gotten no help from the stale offense we have seen in Oakland this series. Netherless, the pitching depth should be a top priority for the Braves moving forward.

With all of that in mind though, what could the Braves do right now?

For starters, they called up AJ Smith-Shawver, a 2021 draft pick who has a 5.33 ERA this year. For now, he will be used out of the bullpen but could eventually become a part of the rotation depending on the state of the bullpen as the season rolls on. Meanwhile, Lucas Luetge was designated for assignment after posting a 10.24 ERA through nine appearances this season.

As for trades with other teams, they probably won't make any big moves until we are closer to the trade deadline. Pitching depth has to be on the Braves' radar when looking at potential trade deals with other teams, but we don't know how much they are willing to give up in a trade for pitcher who can make an immediate impact. The most likely scenario would be that they trade for a bullpen piece while being patient on Fried and Wright's return later this season, with Fried's return possibly coming sooner rather than later from the looks of it.

Regardless, until they make more moves with the bullpen or if the bullpen manages to pull it together, it could be a rough ride moving forward, as we could likley see more games like what we saw in Oakland.