The Atlanta Braves (47-38) are currently riding a season-best seven-game winning streak as we hit July.
Despite their hot streak, the Braves hold just a half-game lead in the division as the Washington Nationals have also improved their play.
You can bet general manager Frank Wren will be looking to improve the roster as the July 31 trade deadline nears in order to give the Braves a leg up over the Nationals.
Just how active Wren will be at the deadline is still unclear. Until we find out, let's take a look at a few perfect trade scenarios for the 2014 trade deadline.
Trade Dan Uggla
Like most Braves fans, I'm shocked that Dan Uggla is still on the roster. Uggla has lost his starting job to Tommy La Stella, and it's clear that he no longer fits in the short-term or long-term plan in Atlanta.
Trading Uggla before the deadline would be trimming the fat for the Braves.
This would allow the Braves to carry an extra arm in the bullpen, which could prove valuable in keeping the bullpen fresh for the season's entirety.
Or the Braves could add an infielder (such as Philip Gosselin) who has more speed, more versatility and plays better defense to their bench.
At this point, the Braves are just trying to get rid of Uggla and wouldn't get anything in return. Minimal salary relief from the other team would be the best-case scenario.
Trading Uggla would be the first step toward a successful trade deadline.
Add Bullpen Piece
The Braves bullpen has tightened as of late, which has played into the current win streak.
However, the Braves could use one more arm from the left side to shore up the bullpen and give manager Fredi Gonzalez plenty of options to end games.
David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently weighed in on the Braves' search for bullpen help:
The Braves were looking for Jonny Venters to return in June to provide a boost from the left side. However, Venters looks iffy at best to return this season.
His absence combined with Luis Avilan's down season has left the Braves a little vulnerable from the left side.
Adding a relief pitcher isn't flashy, but it's the necessary move for this deadline. This is where Wren should start when looking to add at the deadline.
Find Top Starter
Trading Uggla would be trimming the fat, while adding bullpen help is the unflashy but necessary move. If Wren could grab a top-end starter at the deadline, that would be the cherry on top.
It seems unlikely that the Braves will go this route in order to keep their young prospects in the organization. However, if teams soften their asking price, Wren could get more involved.
There's no doubt the Braves could use one more pitcher to complement Julio Teheran at the top of the rotation.
David Price, Jeff Samardzija or Cliff Lee are a few players that would give the Braves a dynamic one-two punch in the postseason.
As I mentioned, this won't happen if the Braves have to trade multiple top prospects. But grabbing an elite pitcher could give the Braves their best chance at a World Series title that has eluded them since 1995.
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