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Braves Send Top Scout To Cincinnati To Take A Look At Two Cubs Relievers

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One of Atlanta's top scouts will be at the Cubs-Reds game tonight to take a look at Wesley Wright and James Russell. Could the Braves be targeting them for a potential trade?

David Banks

The Oakland Athletics have already done a deal with the Cubs to take advantage of Chicago's willingness to move present assets for future prospects (or less). Could the Braves be the next team to do so?

Although nothing appears to be on fire when it comes to any potential trade talks, there's definitely some smoke building up here, as Dave O'Brien of the AJC has reported that the Braves have sent one of their top scouts to the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati for tonight's Cubs-Reds game with the intent of looking at left-handed relievers Wesley Wright and James Russell.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="">#Braves</a> have 1 of their top scouts on <a href="">#Cubs</a>, who have pair of LHRs who could fill ATL&#39;s priority need, James Russell &amp; Wesley Wright</p>&mdash; David O&#39;Brien (@ajcbraves) <a href="">July 9, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Indeed, another lefty reliever would be a nice boost to the Braves bullpen, particularly if Wright is the one who comes in. Avilan is currently the Braves' best left-handed option out of the bullpen. That is because he is the only lefty in the bullpen. When your only lefty is coming out of the pen with a 4.25 ERA and a 4.21 xFIP for the season, that doesn't exactly engender confidence. Meanwhile, Wright has begun to come into his own as a reliever as he currently has an ERA of 2.59 and an xFIP of 3.46. Russell's ERA is 2.89 which is actually in Wright's neighborhood, even though his xFIP is a tad bit concerning at 4.49.

Still, either one of these options would be a better alternative to Avilan (as if what happened this past Monday night wasn't proof enough) at this point, and considering the price that middle-of-the-road relievers normally command on the trade market, it wouldn't cost too much to bring either one of these guys into Atlanta's fold. Again, that's assuming that the Braves are actually going to start up talks with the Chicago Cubs.

Either way, it appears that the Braves are well-aware of this weakness and are currently in the process of trying to find a way to upgrade what is a decent-sized hole in their bullpen.