The 2023 MLB trade deadline is approaching us quickly and the Atlanta Braves will certainly be involved. However, the question to ask is who exactly will they choose to add? The most likely position upgrade that the Braves will look to make is in the bullpen department and maybe even starting pitching.
The Braves bullpen has the third-best ERA in all of baseball and the best in the National League. However, with recent injuries to key pieces such as Minter, Anderson, and Chavez, it's important to look for options to help alleviate those.
There are a few teams that Atlanta could turn to in order to fill this need. To check out a list of other pitching options the Braves could consider, click here.
The Chicago White Sox have been a name floating around for the last month or so to be active sellers at the deadline. They've had a rough time in 2023 so far and it doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon.
There is one Chicago reliever the Braves need to keep their eye on and his name is Kendall Graveman. Graveman has been pretty good for the White Sox most of the season and has been getting save opportunities in the absence of Liam Hendriks. He was featured in the White Sox's recent series with the Braves and earned a save during one of the games.
He is pretty good at limiting hard contact and has a 3-4 record with a 3.07 ERA and 8 saves through 41 innings pitched. Graveman has allowed 17 runs (14 earned) on 29 hits with 19 walks and 40 strikeouts. Opponents are batting just .197 against him through that time as well.
Stranding runners is another strong suit as his left on base percentage sits at almost 81% on the season. Teams average exit velocity against him sits around 89 mph and the barrel percentage is fairly low as well at 6.5%.
We do need to touch on his FIP stat which isn't great. That number currently sits at 5.00 and isn't encouraging for the remainder of the season for Graveman. Some of that can be contributed to his last 15 innings where he has a 4.40 ERA through 14.1 innings pitched. He's allowed 7 ER on 16 H with 8 BB and 14 K.
So, there is definitely room for improvement but his overall performance this season has been good. He'd be a fine addition to a Braves bullpen that is suffering from some untimely injuries right now. He could slot in somewhere in the 7th or 8th inning for Atlanta. Although, it seems he enjoys the 8th inning the best with a 0.90 ERA in that inning this season.
Acquiring Graveman could be a tough trade for Atlanta as he is in the second year of a three-year, $24 million contract. He's making $8 million per year and that extends through the 2024 season.
The extra year of team control is going to make him cost a bit more in prospects and there is a chance that Atlanta may not value him enough to part with the little bit of prospect capital they have left. There is also the chance that Chicago thinks they can compete next year and opt to hold on to Graveman. There's a reason they got him in the first place.
Where Graveman ends up, should he be traded, is anyone's guess at the moment. However, a trade for the righty reliever should get the White Sox a decent return given his overall performance so far.
There really isn't any buzz surrounding Graveman at the moment but in trade season, that can change at any moment. The Chicago reliever has been traded at the deadline before. Back in 2021, he was traded from Seattle to Houston.
Mariners players were not thrilled about the trade at the time considering it was a trade within the division and Graveman was a bright spot for that team. An unidentified player was quoted as saying, "It never changes. They don't care about winning. How do you trade him and say you care about winning? And you trade him to Houston? It never changes."
So, suffice to say that Graveman would be a great addition to the clubhouse and to the bullpen if players felt that strongly about him being let go. Only time will tell if Alex Anthopoulos and the Braves decide to acquire the veteran reliever.