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Braves keeping tabs on closer’s market, per report

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As the Braves continue to find ways to improve, it seems an area of focus once again is the bullpen.

MLB: NLCS-Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

As we continue to move closer and closer to the start of the 2021 MLB season, it finally seems that free agency signings and possible trades are starting to occur more frequently as teams try to improve for the season. With these transactions come plenty of rumors, and the Braves have been linked to a few players as they try to once again position themselves among the pennant favorites in the National League. Today, Atlanta is rumored to be focused on improving an area of the team that has seen many new faces added to it over the past 18 months.

Obviously, this report seems logical as the Braves have consistently placed an emphasis on having as strong of a bullpen as possible for the regular season and playoffs. Before the trade deadline in 2019, Atlanta acquired Chris Martin, Shane Greene, and Mark Melancon. Before last season, they signed one of the best late game relievers on the market in Will Smith. Though Smith certainly had a less than ideal first season for the Braves, these moves as a whole have made Atlanta one of the best relief groups in baseball since August of 2019.

In 2020, the emergence of bullpen options such as Tyler Matzek and the resurgence of other arms such as A.J. Minter allowed the Braves to overcome significant starting pitching woes and move further in the postseason than they have in two decades. With many of these arms still under control for multiple years, Atlanta’s bullpen logically remains a strength. However, the need for a reliable late inning arm that preferably is a right-hander with good strikeout potential appears to be a priority for the Braves based on the names they are linked too above.

A reunion with Melancon certainly makes sense, considering both his consistency and familiarity with the team. However, options with a higher potential for strikeouts, such as Trevor Rosenthal, could also make sense if the price is right. With Atlanta already making a big commitment to its starting rotation earlier this offseason, the offense and the bullpen remain areas to be addressed. While the offense is certainly of a higher priority, the Braves, more than anyone, know the benefits of having a deep and talented bullpen. As a result, it seems the Braves will likely make at least one more move this offseason to bolster the bullpen even more to make it as big of a benefit as possible in Atlanta’s pursuit of a World Series championship.