Just when we thought that the Atlanta Braves were complete, they may still be looking to add the finishing touches to what will hopefully be a team that can go deep into the postseason. Jon Morosi from Fox Sports tweets this:
Braves are looking for bench upgrades before tomorrow's deadline, sources say.
This has been a stated desire for the Braves all season, and into last off-season, though it could be turning into a more pressing need. Not only do the Braves remember how the injuries last year to Chipper Jones and Martin Prado forced their bench into action, but bench stalwarts Eric Hinske and Brooks Conrad have shown some regression since the All-Star break.
Hinske is just 10-for-64 since the break (.196), and Conrad 8-for-35 (.229). The recently signed Wes Helms, who was released by the Marlins last month, is hitting just .129 (4-for-31) in eight games at triple-A Gwinnett, with zero extra base hits. The team signed him with the intention of bringing him up once rosters expand in September, but the Braves may have determined that he is no longer a viable option -- which those numbers seem to reinforce.
Beyond Hinske and Conrad, the Braves have relied on Julio Lugo as their backup infielder, but he's hitting just .136 with no signs of improvement. Jose Constanza should be another option for the Braves off the bench, but he has been playing regularly in place of Jason Heyward, and neither player has been used much as a pinch hitter.
It would behoove the Braves to acquire another bench bat (or two), so long as the price is not too steep. There should be plenty of options still out there, role players are not usually the victims of waiver claims or blocks. The final trade deadline is tomorrow, so we could see a minor move of some kind by Atlanta.