Bunker: Braves Need Closer Before Deadline

The Braves need to add pitching before the trade deadline, Andy Bunker says, and they should prioritize the bullpen

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
July 17, 2019 - 9:33 am
Brian McCann Luke Jackson Atlanta Braves

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The Atlanta Braves signed Dallas Keuchel to a one-year, $13 million deal on June 7. 

Smart move. 

Keuchel is 3-2 with a 3.09 ERA in five starts with the Braves. In fact, he has pitched at least 7.0 innings and allowed two runs or fewer in three straight outings.

“I think Dallas Keuchel, along with Mike Soroka, are the two pitchers that you really trust every five days,” Atlanta’s 92.9 The Game host Andy Bunker said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Having Dallas Keuchel is huge because he’s immediately one of the two best pitchers in the rotation.”

The Braves (58-38) lead the Nationals (50-43) by 6.5 games in the NL East. They are 40-18 since May 10.

Bunker expects Atlanta to be active before the trade deadline.

“I think as much pitching as you can add, you got to try to do it,” he said. “But there’s not that many sellers, so they’re going to have so much leverage in that trade market and the Braves have a ton of minor league talent – and everybody knows that. They’re going to try to get as many of these guys as they can if the Braves are going to try to make a big move before July 31.”

Bunker believes the Braves should prioritize the bullpen.

“If there’s one thing that they have to do, they have to add a bonafide closer,” he said. “Luke Jackson has done a fine job in that role, but he leads the league in blown saves. Every time he gets a save, it seems like a runner or two gets on base. It would be really nice to get somebody who you can really be confident in in that 9th inning role. 

“If they can add another start pitcher, that would be great too,” Bunker continued, “but then we start talking about having to deal away some of these really big-name prospects, and that seems to make everyone uncomfortable. So I think a closer is the thing that I would really circle.”

Click below to listen to Bunker’s interview in its entirety.