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.
– Mark Bowman