By all indications, it's going to be a quiet trade deadline for the Atlanta Braves.
It could be because the franchise is notoriously tight-lipped, and there just haven't been many leaks about their Thursday plans. Or it could be because they are simply content with their roster, while minor upgrades will cost too much in what is a relatively thin market.
The Braves currently sit at 58-49, one game behind the Washington Nationals in the East and a half-game in front of the San Francisco Giants for the top wild-card spot. They are built for a playoff run as is, and according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark, they have been telling teams they aren't willing to take on more money this season.
We're who we are and we're [one game] behind the Nationals in our division. So, you feel like you have a pretty good club. Yeah, you always want to improve, but you never want to take away from your own club if you can [avoid it]. We could get a piece here or a piece there. We'll see.
To make matters more difficult, you have 19 teams either leading a playoff race or within 5.5 games of a top spot. That means more buyers, less sellers and higher prices.
Put it all together, and a major move from Frank Wren and Co. is unlikely.
That doesn't mean the Braves will be completely silent in the next several hours, though. A lefty reliever and pinch hitter to strengthen the bench are still realistic options that can improve this team.
The leading candidate to fill the former role is Andrew Miller. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien has the most recent buzz on that front:
As the non-waiver trade deadline approaches (4 p.m. Thursday), the Braves were still trying to add Boston’s Andrew Miller or another quality left-handed reliever without giving up too much in the way of quality prospects. But the Red Sox were asking for at least one top prospect in a deal for Miller, and it remained to be seen if there would be middle ground for a deal with the Braves.
Miller has been a stud this season. Through 41.1 innings, he boasts a 2.40 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and a silly 14.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Atlanta's bullpen has been very good, but Chasen Shreve—he of only 5.0 career MLB innings—is the only current left-hander in the bullpen.
Is Miller worth giving up a prospect for, even though he hits free agency in the winter? It's tough to say, but he represents a clear upgrade.
As far as a potential pinch hitter, the New York Post's Joel Sherman reports San Diego Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia is on the radar:
On the surface, it's about as underwhelming of an option as it gets. The 34-year-old is hitting .242/.293/.319 in 2014 and has just 18 walks to 51 strikeouts. Basically, numbers that only Dan Uggla would be jealous of.
However, "Norf" is a career .301 hitter against left-handers and plays good defense, making him a solid late-inning replacement whether it be as a pinch hitter or in the field.
All in all, these aren't necessarily game-changing options. But they are cheap ways to improve for a postseason run, and that's exactly what the Braves are looking for at this point.