Atlanta Braves rumors: Top 4 starting pitchers to trade for in 2024

The Atlanta Braves need a starting pitcher. Many are looking to free agency but here's why we think the Braves are more likely to make a move in the trade market to solidify the rotation.

Atlanta Braves v Cleveland Guardians
Atlanta Braves v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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The Atlanta Braves have re-signed Charlie Morton to help solidify the rotation in 2024. As it stands now, they have Max Fried, Spencer Strider, and Charlie Morton. The remaining two spots depend on the transactions the Braves make this offseason. Currently, Bryce Elder and AJ Smith-Shawver are the likely candidates.

Alex Anthopoulos has made several roster moves in the form of non-tenders and trades to dump contracts the Braves didn't want on the books. By the time the dust settled, the Braves had opened up 10 roster spots. That has changed a little since then with the recent addition of reliever Reynaldo Lopez but the feeling is that AA is gearing up to bring in a splashy name or two for the rotation.

The Braves were reportedly in on Aaron Nola before he signed a seven-year deal with the Phillies. The Braves have also been linked to and seen as favorites to land veteran free agent Sonny Gray. However, the hang-up with free agency is that Alex Anthopoulos and the Braves are highly unlikely to overpay or over-commit to anybody via free agency.

A veteran pitcher like Gray is the most likely candidate to end up in Atlanta if he's not looking for too much money or too long of a deal. If he wants to win over the next couple of seasons, the Braves might have a shot.

Considering AA's track record, the Braves may look to the trade market to round out the rotation. Should that be the case, I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Braves make a move for a player and sign them to a long-term extension prior to the season. The team does have a long-term need for a starting pitcher which has yet to be addressed. Max Fried has one year left and Charlie Morton should be finished after this season.

So, without further adieu, here are the top four pitchers on the trade block this offseason.

Corbin Burnes
Team Control Years Left: 1
2024 Projected Salary: $15.1MM

St. Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers
St. Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers / John Fisher/GettyImages

Should the Atlanta Braves be able to come up with the right package of players and prospects, they could add an elite arm to the top of the rotation in Corbin Burnes. The Brewers are open to trading the majority of their roster, including their ace Corbin Burnes and shortstop Willy Adames.

Corbin Burnes won the 2021 NL Cy Young and has made three consecutive All-Star games. Over six seasons, his career ERA is a phenomenal 3.26. Brunes led the league in 2021 with a 2.43 ERA over 167.0 innings. He followed that up with a 2.94 ERA in 2022 over 202.0 innings pitched.

Last season, Burnes was stellar again with a 3.39 ERA over 193.2 innings. The Brewers are in full rebuild mode and could be a better deal than most might think. The Braves farm system is a lot thinner than it used to be but they have pieces like Bryce Elder, Vaughn Grissom, AJ Smith-Shawver, Dylan Dodd, and more that could help AA piece a deal together.

Shane Bieber
Team Control Years Left: 1
2024 Projected Salary: $12.2MM

Atlanta Braves v Cleveland Guardians
Atlanta Braves v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages

Shane Bieber is also a former Cy Young Award winner, a two-time All-Star, and won the pitching triple crown in the 2020 covid-shortened season. Despite it only being a 12-game sample size, Bieber was incredibly impressive in 2020 going 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA while striking out 122 batters in just 77.1 innings pitched.

Bieber is no longer the strikeout pitcher he was a few years ago but over the past two seasons, he has still been an excellent starting pitcher. The past two years saw the end of his double-digit K per nine days but he still finished seventh in Cy Young voting in 2022.

Between 2018 and 2021, Bieber struck out 11.3 batters per nine innings pitched. Since then he has struck out 8.4 per nine. He had 8.9 in 2022 and 7.5 in 2023. Bieber has posted a 3.24 ERA over the past two years combined and walked just 1.9 hitters per nine during that time.

Cleveland has a history of parting ways with big-name starting pitchers one year from free agency. We saw them do it with Corey Kluber, Mike Clevinger, and Carlos Carrasco. If they choose to do it with Bieber, he's only going to run about $12 million next season.

Dylan Cease
Team Control Years Left: 2
2024 Projected Salary: $8.8MM

Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox - Game One
Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox - Game One / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Dylan Cease has been linked to the Braves a lot this offseason. I'm sure it primarily has to do with his mustache vs. Spencer Strider's mustache. The Braves have already done some business with the White Sox this offseason when they sent Michael Soroka and four others to Chicago for left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer.

Dylan Cease finished second in Cy Young voting just two seasons ago. Granted, he didn't follow up with the season White Sox fans had hoped for but he still posted a 4.58 ERA over 177 innings. His 3.72 FIP indicates there may have been some bad luck, but it's baseball... luck is always bouncing things one way or the other, isn't it?

Cease has a 3.83 career ERA over 123 starts and 658.0 innings. He has struck out 10.8 batters per nine over the course of his career with a 10.9 mark last season. He has a tendency to get a little wild, walking 4.0 batters per nine throughout his career (and in 2023), and leading the league in wild pitches in 2021 and 2023.

Nonetheless, Cease has elite talent and is entering his age-28 season. Imagine both Strider's and Cease's mustaches accounting for 40% of the rotation next season. With two years left under team control, Cease would be an exciting addition to the rotation.

Tyler Glasnow
Team Control Years Left: 1
2024 Salary: $25MM

Wild Card Series - Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays - Game One
Wild Card Series - Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays - Game One / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Tyler Glasnow has been linked to the Braves a couple of times in this short offseason already. Glasnow is due $25 million next season and the Rays don't like to pay players much more than minimum wage. Granted, the Rays signed Glasnow to an extension last August his $25MM salary would be the highest single-season paycheck in Rays' history.

Glasnow is the type of pitcher that immediately gets Cy Young consideration if he's healthy. The thing about Glasnow is that the Rays are already down Shane McClanahan for the entire season with starters Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen set to miss chunks of the year, as well. Whether Glasnow gets moved or not will depend on whether the Rays think they have more magic sauce in the minor leagues.

Despite the injury history and the steep price tag, it would be incredible to see Glasnow in a Braves uniform. I just don't think the Rays have the confidence in the healthy pitchers on their roster to pull the trigger. At the same time, you never know what the Rays are really thinking. Remember when they didn't exercise the option on Charlie Morton? As someone who lives in the Tampa area, I know a lot of people were surprised by that one.

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