The Atlanta Braves need to add another arm before the trade deadline and Tampa Bay Rays starter James Shields is the perfect target.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com reported that the Braves have shown interest in Shields, as well as San Diego Padres’ pitcher Edinson Volquez.
Shields is 8-7 this season with a 4.52 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 137.1 innings pitched. Last year was the most productive of his career, and he finished with a 2.82 ERA.
Atlanta’s search for another pitcher to add to their rotation has had a few setbacks. Chicago Cubs righty Ryan Dempster was the team’s top trade target, but he reportedly blocked a move to the Braves.
General manager Frank Wren is wise to go after another arm, given the Braves’ place in the standings.
The team has trailed the Washington Nationals the entire season, and currently sits four games back in the NL East.
If the Braves do not catch the Nationals, they will face an extremely competitive wild card race. Although reaching the postseason will be slightly easier this season, with five teams from each league qualifying for the playoffs.
The Pittsburgh Pirates would receive the first wild card spot and the Braves would receive the other if the regular season ended today. However, the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals are in the mix as well.
There will be fierce competition down the stretch this year, and a solid starting pitcher could provide a few vital wins in the final weeks of the season.
This is why the Braves must brush off the failed Dempster deal and add a pitcher. Shields is the right target because of his production, and ready availability.
The Braves have several talented young pitchers, and Bowman’s report states that Tampa Bay is interested in adding players of this description to their roster.
Parting ways with Shields would be the price they pay, but a deal could work out for both sides.
The Braves are clearly in a buying mood and they need a quick infusion of talent for an added boost in the second half of the season. Shields is an ideal pitcher for their rotation, and they must get a deal done before Tuesday.