The MLB trade deadline is always a lot of fun. Especially when you are a fan of the Atlanta Braves, the team with the best record in baseball, and dreams of another World Series championship. The team has been in a bit of a slump as of late, and that is highlighting the weaknesses of the roster.
Even though there are not huge holes, the Braves currently have a few areas they could fill. Especially when it comes to pitching. A Major League baseball team can never have too many arms for the postseason and that is the case with the Braves.
Now, believe it or not, by fWAR the Braves have been the second-best bullpen in baseball this year. As a unit, they have compiled a 3.54 ERA, 3.64 FIP, 3.98 xFIP, and 3.58 SIERA! Even in July with this bad stretch of games, the bullpen has a 3.46 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 4.12 xFIP, and 3.88 SIERA. So, basically in line with their season performance.
When we break it up from after the All-Star break though, it shows a 4.43 ERA, 4.29 FIP, 3.97 xFIP, and 3.74 SIERA. The peripherals are still good but the ERA is a touch higher. This does also correlate with the time the Braves lost both A.J. Minter and Nick Anderson to the injured list. To combat that, the Braves did make two minor moves in acquiring Pierce Johnson for prospects and Taylor Hearn for cash.
Even with all the stats, and looking past some of the recent struggles, this is a really good bullpen. It can always be better though. Sure, the Braves hope to get Minter and Dylan Lee back soon. Jesse Chavez is the most popular journeyman middle reliever in Braves history, and he was putting together a career year, but he was reportedly still limping. Nick Anderson is down for two months with a shoulder issue, something he has dealt with in the past.
It might make sense to add another piece. Ben Heller has been fun but the peripherals over the last 10 outings (5.02 FIP, 5.57 xFIP, and 5.00 SIERA) do not support the 2.08 ERA. Collin McHugh does not look like the same guy he was in 2022. Hearn is a project with options.