The MLB trade deadline is just hours away, and interest in relief pitchers is ramping up once again. This includes (and perhaps features) Detroit Tigers closer Shane Greene, who is drawing interest from several teams. The Atlanta Braves are among those that have joined the fray, according to a report from MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News added that the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees are also in the mix.
Atlanta’s interest in relief help is not surprising. They went into the season with questions surrounding the back end of their ‘pen, and cycled threw a few closers before settling on righthander Luke Jackson, who is just 17-for-24 in save opportunities. Additionally, the Braves’ bullpen has outperformed their peripheral numbers, with the largest positive gap between ERA and FIP of any team in baseball. If regression sets in, the Braves could potentially see their 5 1⁄2 game lead in the NL East start to evaporate.
Affording Greene shouldn’t be a problem for the Braves, who have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball. Outfielders Cristian Pache and Drew Waters sit at the top of the heap, but both players are likely out of the question for Greene alone. The Braves have a slew of talented arms just behind those two, including righthanders Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright. Even players further down their list, like lefthander Joey Wentz or righty Bryse Wilson, could be in play for Greene.
The Nationals are just behind the Braves in the NL East pecking order, and currently have a half-game lead for the first NL Wild Card spot. Their problems are a bit more surface level, as their bullpen has a 5.99 ERA, the highest in all of baseball. Lefthander Sean Doolittle has performed well in the ninth inning, but the Nats have had trouble getting to that point with the lead. Righthander Wander Suero, their de facto setup man, has a 4.72 ERA in 47 2⁄3 innings.
Washington’s system isn’t as deep, but they also have some nice top-end talent. The Tigers have reportedly asked for top prospect Carter Kieboom in exchange for Greene previously, which may take a bit more creativity on both sides to complete.
Stay tuned for more deadline updates!