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Braves trade rumors: Atlanta could deal from rotation depth to address bullpen

Alex Wood and David Hale could allow the Braves to move veteran starters for relievers.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves are "likely" to trade for bullpen help and they could shop veteran starters like Aaron Harang or Gavin Floyd in an effort to do so, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Dave O'Brien. However, the team is still "reluctant" to trade a starter for fear that they would lack depth if another one of their current group were to get injured.

The Braves lead the NL East, but they're tied with the Nationals and the Marlins are just a half-game behind. Part of the reason they haven't rushed out in front like they did last season is the performance of their pen. Luis Avilan and David Carpenter have been disappointing, and Jordan Walden is currently on the disabled list.

Shae Simmons has been effective so far, and Craig Kimbrel is dominating once again, but the have eight blown saves and just 31 holds as a unit. Those results are partially situational, but if the Braves added an established set-up man or a topflight left hander, they could separate themselves from the other two clubs fighting for the pennant. The margins are incredibly small at the moment, so any small move could help.

Harang and Floyd were both signed last winter so they cannot be traded until June 16. If the Braves were to use one of them to acquire bullpen help, they would likely have to attempt to make a deal with a team in contention this season. Both pitchers will be free agents after the season, so competitive teams looking to make a push this year would likely be the only suitors for Atlanta's vet starters.

General manager Frank Wren could look to a team like the Indians and White Sox, who have relatively strong bullpens and holes in their rotation. If the Braves landed a relievers for one of their starters, they could move Alex Wood back into the rotation, where he was much more successful than he has been in the bullpen.