3 Braves trade targets to already dream about and 1 to definitely avoid
Scott Barlow, Kansas City Royals (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
The Atlanta Braves are well on their way to contending again but the roster isn’t perfect. Which trade targets should the Braves already have an eye on?
Everything that we thought could work for the Atlanta Braves to make the club a World Series contender again in the 2023 season has been on display to start the year. At 19-10 as of May 2, the club has a three-game lead in the NL East — a division where only one team is below .500 — and has a roster comprised of more All-Stars than you can count on one hand.
Despite that, this team clearly heading toward contention once again and eyeing another crack at the Fall Classic isn’t without its faults. Marcell Ozuna is the most obvious (and perhaps painful) of the bunch as the team continues to search for ways to move on from him and the problem he creates in left field. On top of that, the bullpen — undoubtedly due in large part to the litany of injuries to the likes of Raisel Iglesias, Tyler Matzek and so on — has an issue with its depth that could stand to be remedied.
While the MLB Trade Deadline is still months away, the Braves have already shown they’re in a spot where they should be putting trade targets on their radar.
There are three players in particular who could be on the block and would help this club, but there’s one potential target that Atlanta should also avoid.
Braves rumors: Scott Barlow would be a perfect trade target for bullpen depth
For as bad as the White Sox have been to the point that baseball fans can’t stop talking about the disappointment in Chicago, they actually aren’t in last place in the AL Central — that title would belong to the Kansas City Royals, a club that is a game behind the Southsiders in the standings as of May 2.
There is certainly not a lot going right for the Royals right now, but one of their strongest suits has been their bullpen. Aroldis Champman, who the club landed for peanuts, is going to be one of the biggest trade chips coming into the deadline. The Braves, however, could pay much less than Chapman is going to cost to fix the issue with bullpen depth by targeting Scott Barlow in Kansas City.
When you just look at the numbers this season for Barlow, you might not like to see the 6.10 ERA and 1.74 WHIP. Who would? However, when you dig a little deeper, Barlow has appeared in 10 games this season and allowed seven total earned runs and 11 hits. All but one of those runs and five of those hits came over two outings against the Rangers. Outside of that, he has 8.2 innings pitched while allowing just six hits and one earned run — which incidentally was given upagainst the Braves.
Barlow has quietly been a stud in the Royals bullpen over the past two seasons, posting a 2.42 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 2021 and bettering that last season with a 2.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. Given that his numbers in the 2023 season are largely the result of two bad outings against one opponent, he has the makings of a player that could really strengthen the Atlanta bullpen.
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