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The Atlanta Braves have to fix their bullpen if they even want to dream of postseason baseball.
After a breakthrough year for the Atlanta Braves in 2020, the 2021 team has yet to play .500 baseball in the first 2.5 months of the regular season.
No doubt that the Braves have had to deal with injuries, but that is not an excuse for a team that was one win shy of winning the National League a season ago. If the Braves do not make the postseason, there will be major changes to the organization this winter. Their biggest weakness right now has to be their horrendous bullpen. This is where the Braves can get better in a trade.
If the Braves do strike a deal to upgrade their bullpen, they need to be careful about not giving up too much for what would look to be a power-arm rental.
Atlanta Braves: 1 player to trade for, 1 player to avoid at the trade deadline
Trade to make: Bring back Craig Kimbrel
This is all contingent on what the Chicago Cubs‘ plans are heading into the 2021 MLB trade deadline. Right now, this looks like a team that has a decent shot at winning the NL pennant. However, things can change very quickly in this game. Look no further than how bad the Cubs were in April and how fantastic they have been since May. They could be buyers or sellers.
The reason it could seriously go either way with the Cubs is they are up against it financially as an organization. They could have traded any number of their star players at the deadline. While Atlanta is no longer interested in third baseman Kris Bryant due to the emergence of Austin Riley at the hot corner, you better believe Braves Country would love to bring Craig Kimbrel back home.
The Huntsville, Alabama native was a perennial All-Star closer in the early-to-mid-2010s with the Braves. He is the franchise record holder for most career saves, eclipsing Baseball Hall of Famer John Smoltz during his last season with the Braves. Kimbrel is pitching well, but may not be what he was in Atlanta. For that reason, Atlanta could get him relatively cheaply in his contract season.
Again, this is all about what the Braves may have to give up for a soon-to-be free-agent pitcher.