Braves continue their search for relievers

Like many clubs, the Braves are still hoping to strengthen their bullpen before next week’s Trade Deadline.  But while they are evaluating a number of relievers, it does not appear they currently have a specific target.

The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers seems to believe the Braves are the favorites to land Jesse Crain from the White Sox if the All-Star reliever comes off the disabled list within the next week and provides indication that his right shoulder is healthy.  Rogers expressed this sentiment early Tuesday morning while on The Mully And Hanley Show on Chicago’s 670 The Score.

If he is healthy, Crain would arguably be the best reliever available and there is no doubt the Braves have definite interest in the 32-year-old reliever, who is in the final year of a three-year contract.  He has posted a 0.74 ERA and limited opponents to a .287 on-base percentage in 38 appearances.  But there is certainly reason to be cautious with any pitcher dealing with a shoulder ailment.

The Braves are still hoping left-hander Alex Wood proves effective enough to remain in the starting rotation throughout the remainder of this season.  Brandon Beachy is also expected to rejoin Atlanta’s rotation next week.  The expected additions of Wood and Beachy continue to fuel the belief that Kris Medlen could be moved to the bullpen within the next week.

With Medlen and Jordan Walden, the Braves would have two right-handed relievers who can neutralize left-handed hitters with their changeup.  But there still seems to be a desire to add a left-handed reliever.

The Angels’ Scott Downs, the Cubs’ James Russell and the Brewers’ Mike Gonzalez are among the left-handed relievers who have all drawn some form of interest from Atlanta’s brass.

But it appears Downs, who is in the final year of his three-year contract, and Russell, who is in the midst of his first arbitration-eligible season, rank above Gonzalez on the Braves’ wish list.

5 Comments

Fredo and QTip are gonna screw with Meds again. He has the 3rd lowest ERA of all starters, and they want to move him to BP to justify the salaries of Huddy and Maholm. The difference between god and poor mgmt sometimes boils down to having to make the tough calls. instead they will piss off Meds so he leaves when he is no longer arb eligible. Morons.

Looks like this won’t be a problem anymore… hope Huddy makes it back.

With the Phillies falling further and further behind how about a back end of the bullpen with Walden, Papelbon and Kimbrel

Bill, I think you need to step back for a second. Since June 1st, Medlen has the fourth best ERA of our starters, with Maholm being our worst in the rotation. I like Medlen. I really do, so I approve your rooting for him so strongly but, he has not been the Medlen of last year. In the beginning of the season, Medlen pitched as well as he did at the end of last year with little to no run support. However he has not looked comfortable on the mound to me during June and July. Quite a few games he has given up 3-5 runs (again with little to no run support). He just doesn’t seem as sharp and getting the calls on the corners like he did last year. A trip to the bullpen could do him good. It was during and after that stint in the bullpen last year when he started pitching like an ace. Yes he was good before the bullpen stint but he was lights out after it. Did that prompt it? I already know you’re about to say “Hell no”. But at this point it almost wouldn’t hurt to try. We do have a big lead in the division (again, I know, no lead is safe with our history). But this would be the best time with Hudson going down to maybe see if we have anybody on the farm we can showcase and see what they can do before we pull a trigger on a trade. We all know one is coming. Might as well see what some of our youngsters can do before September. However, now with Hudson’s injury, I don’t think you have much to worry or complain about. If Maholm can come back fairly quickly from his DL stint, I would much rather he get put in the bullpen and let Beachy, Wood, Teheran, Minor and Medlen be the starting rotation.

Pollshark, that could be a nice dream, but are you really sure you want to give a division rival prospects that could come back to bite you in the ass next or two years down the road? Not to mention, Papelbon has a damn big contract for a reliever. And his ego will demand he close. Wait a min, we already have a dynamite closer in Kimbrel. Nice dream but only will work in baseball video game land.

And I will say this, Eric Young has no ill will from this Braves fan. Very classy move after the accident. Hudson can take some of the blame since he left his foot on way too much of the bag. I really hate that Huddy’s gone for the year especially since he was really in a groove of late right when we needed him to get it going. I have a pretty hard time trying to imagine a Phillies player reacting like Eric Young did after what happened to Huddy.

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