Monday at 4 p.m. marked the trade deadline for the wacky 2020 Major League Baseball season. The Atlanta Braves were poised to be one of the busiest buyers as the deadline approached, with a three-game lead in their division but big needs in the rotation and perhaps in the lineup or bench.
Unfortunately, those needs largely went unmet.
IN: Tommy Milone, SP
OUT: Two Players to be Named Later
The Braves found themselves in a unique position as they approached the deadline. They’re the leaders in the NL East and seemed poised to return to the playoffs for the third straight year, but at the same time, the best way to describe their rotation is that it is Max Fried, Ian Anderson and a handful of question marks. And Anderson has one big-league start – albeit a really good one – under his belt.
With that in mind, the team’s first deal on Sunday made plenty of sense.
Tommy Milone, sitting at a 3.99 ERA with a 1.261 WHIP for the Orioles before an atrocious first outing with the Braves on Sunday, is not the playoff starter that many fans were dreaming of. But the fact that he pitched for his new team shortly after hopping off a charter the day he was acquired speaks to the dire straits the Braves faced in that area of the roster. And when you factor in the low cost for a starter that should eventually eat some innings for a team that badly needs innings eaten, it’s tough to be too critical of this move on its own.
It’s tough to see the lone grade for a deal in this post and then see negatives, but the real disappointment is in all the deals that didn’t get made. Mike Minor went from the Texas Rangers to the Oakland Athletics for two PTBNL. Mike Clevinger went from the Cleveland Indians to the San Diego Padres for a haul of prospects in terms of quantity, but without the Padres relinquishing their true studs from the farm. Lance Lynn, Joe Musgrove and even former Brave Kevin Gausman stayed right where they were.
Additionally, Joey Gallo stayed in Arlington, Texas, with Lynn, while Starling Marte went to the Miami Marlins. The Toronto Blue Jays made several moves.
But the Braves, who have seemingly needed a frontline starter for longer than Cristian Pache has been alive, are apparently moving forward with a rotation of Max Fried, Ian Anderson, Robbie Erlin, Josh Tomlin, and Milone. Simply put, that isn’t good enough, and general manager Alex Anthopoulos should have to answer much tougher questions about his inability to meet the team’s needs than he’ll likely face.
There is a game tonight, but the lineup is without Ronald Acuña Jr. who was removed from yesterday’s game with a tight hamstring. Here’s to hoping that Chip Caray gets to talk about how Cole Hamels, Tucker Davidson, Cristian Pache, and Ozzie Albies are the equivalent to big deadline deals for the Braves.