Instead of a recap, I’ll just tell you that the Braves lost a baseball game yesterday, which has happened the majority of times they’ve taken the field in July. They are now 7-12 in July, by far their worst month of the season. They’ve now lost 3 straight, including one to a Miami team that was throwing one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball. And to compound frustrations, the Braves are currently the only team considered to be a contender that hasn’t made a trade that would be considered impactful. Simply put, in the highs and lows of a long season, this is a low.
The Braves have said from the beginning that they won’t trade their top prospects for reinforcements just this year. That’s nothing new. So when Zach Britton, Asdrubal Cabrera, Mike Moustakas, and other players we’ve been linked to were traded for players like Brett Phillips or Dillon Tate or Franklyn Kilome (and more in most deals), then it shouldn’t come as a shock that we weren’t willing to trade a player of that caliber. To me, what is currently a shock is that we literally haven’t traded anybody. We gave up bonus pool money with no intrinsic value to us for Venters, so we haven’t dealt a single player yet.
But there are 3 days left, and AA has said there is money to spend, some prospects to trade, and they want a reliever, a starter, and a bat. Technically, they’ve gotten a reliever, a reliever I knew we could acquire for nothing and had wanted, but he’s certainly not the reliever we wanted. But there are still plenty of relievers out there, and if we could get Venters for international slot, then we can get a little better for a little better. And there are only a handful of deals that we were made that I think the Braves actually should have made, and there are plenty of players left.
But if the Braves don’t make the impactful move, then it all goes back to last offseason, in my opinion. They decided to sandwich $20M+ from 2019 into 2018, and it seems they can’t reallocate that money. But they could have said that this wasn’t going to be The Year(TM), and they would not make moves, but they’ve said so repeatedly that they would. They don’t have to be first, though, so remain patient.
But the real problem is that the Braves are simply not playing well right now. They are 24th in July team ERA, and they are 23rd in July wRC+. They’re not good right now, and Asdrubal Cabrera or Zach Britton or even the great Manny Machado himself wouldn’t change that. Sam Freeman, Julio Teheran, Dan Winkler, Luke Jackson, Peter Moylan, Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Evan Phillips, and Max Fried all have ERAs over 5 this month. In fact, of all of those pitchers listed, Sam Freeman — Current Whipping Boy — has the best ERA! Newcomb has an ERA of 7 in 4 starts. Ender Inciarte has a 82 wRC+ this month. Dansby 69, Tyler Flowers 54, Kurt Suzuki 40. That’s got to improve. You can add anyone you want, but it’s not going to move the needle if a significant portion of the team slumps at the same time.
The team will get through this. Or they won’t, and the trade deadline won’t matter.