With the August 1st trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Atlanta Braves are in the market for some bullpen and pitching aid. They recently acquired Pierce Johnson from the Rockies as well as Taylor Hearn from the Rangers, but they probably will not stop there due to the state of the bullpen at the moment.
With the trade deadline just days away, one name that has been coming up in trade discussions among the league's contenders is veteran pitcher Joe Kelly from the White Sox. Baseball fans of course know Kelly for his antics both on and off the field, but if the White Sox decide to sell at the deadline, Kelly could potentially be making his way to a contender, including just maybe the Braves.
“Keep an eye on White Sox veteran reliever Joe Kelly,” MLB insider Bob Nightengale wrote. “He is pitching the best he has in years, and teams could have him for two pennant races considering he has a club option in 2024 for $9.5 million or a $1 million buyout.”
When it comes to relievers, there are far worse players you can trade for than Kelly. While he hasn't had the most remarkable season this year, pitching a 4.66 ERA across 29.0 innings, he has quietly been getting better, with his 2.46 FIP and .894 WHIP this season both being career highs.
How would he fit into the Braves bullpen though? For one, Kelly is a hard-throwing righty, which the Braves bullpen does not currently have and could probably need in the second half of the season. With this in mind, Kelly would be a good stand-in for the injuries the bullpen has faced recently.
The Braves also probably wouldn't have to give up a lot to acquire him. Maybe some a lower-level prospect or two. Kelly himself would also be a rental. Kelly is in the second year of a two-year contract with the White Sox, which includes a club option for the 2024 season. Knowing how the Braves are with their contract values, it wouldn't be a terrible deal with the team.
Now with all of this in mind, should the Braves trade for Kelly? While there will be better pitchers and relievers on the market, for a veteran piece to keep the bullpen together amid injuries, Kelly, with his antics aside, wouldn't be a bad trade decision if the Braves decide to go that route.