3 Biggest Team Needs for the Atlanta Braves Before the MLB Trade Deadline

Mike Esposito
Atlanta Braves v New York Mets
Atlanta Braves v New York Mets / Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After a sluggish start to year, the Atlanta Braves are flying high as we head into the dog days of summer, sitting atop the NL East with a 50-35 record. Atlanta has one of the best young rosters in the league and looks poised for a deep postseason run. However, no roster is perfect.

There are still a couple of areas in which the Braves could stand to improve and the trade deadline will present them with the perfect opportunity to do so. With that in mind, here are Atlanta's three needs to be addressed at the trade deadline.

3. Bullpen Depth

Atlanta Braves v Colorado Rockies
Atlanta Braves v Colorado Rockies / Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The Braves own the best bullpen in the National League this season in terms of ERA (3.76 ERA), but adding one more reliever to their already dominant relief corps would go a long way for the club. Southpaw A.J. Minter (7.45 ERA, 1.97 WHIP) has floundered in high-leverage situations this year and Atlanta could use a more reliable lefty to turn to late in games. Trading for a lights-out southpaw like Will Smith at the deadline would be the perfect addition, giving the Braves an electric arm to preserve late leads and dominate lefty-hitters that may step up to the plate.

2. Starting Pitcher

Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins
Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins / Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Braves have one of the stronger rotations in the Majors, but they could still use another arm to completely round out their starting staff for the long haul. Atlanta has used six different pitchers in fifth spot in their rotation so far with very little success. Trading for a reliable high-upside arm like Matthew Boyd, Zack Wheeler, or Madison Bumgarner should be more than enough to completely round out the Braves' starting staff for a deep postseason run.

1. Closer

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies / Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Braves have one of the best bullpens as a whole, but in addition to depth (as mentioned above), the club could seriously use a lights-out closer to lock things down in the ninth. Atlanta's pen has blown a whopping 16 saves this year, good for the third-highest total in the Majors. Trading for a top-end closer like Ken Giles, Felipe Vazquez or Brad Hand at the deadline would completely round out Atlanta's pen for the long haul and allow the Braves to quickly pull away from the rest of the NL East pack.

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