As baseball’s trade deadline fast approaches, Braves fans – and players – wait to see what moves the front office will make to try to fortify the roster for the final two months of the season.
The most obvious priorities include the bullpen, which needs another reliable arm, and the outfield, which needs another big bat.
The deadline is 4 p.m. Friday, and until then trade speculation will consume the sport.
“I’m sure guys do wonder (what will happen),” Braves manager Brian Snitker said Wednesday. “It’s out there so much now. MLB Network is on all the time in (the clubhouse), and they do all the shows on it.
“But I don’t think it affects anything that (players) do. Once the game starts, it’s business -- you’ve got a game to win. It’s something that they have no control over, so there’s no reason to worry about it too much.”
Aside from whatever trades they might make, the Braves are excited about internal reinforcements with catcher Travis d’Arnaud and pitcher Huascar Ynoa expected to return from the injured list in August.
“It’ll be like making a nice trade when you get those two guys back,” Snitker said.
Still, attention is focused this week on the possibility of outside additions to a team that entered Wednesday’s game against the New York Mets in third place in the National League East with a 50-51 record, four games behind the first-place Mets and a half-game behind the second-place Philadelphia Phillies.
“Being still kind of new to this, I’m really just sitting back, not sure what to expect,” Braves third baseman Austin Riley said after Tuesday night’s game. “I know Alex (Anthopoulos, Braves general manager) and them, they’re doing their job. I’m sure they’re not getting much sleep and (are) constantly trying to figure out what we could add or not add or whatever.”
Unlike Riley, Braves pitcher Charlie Morton is a veteran of many trade deadlines.
“Without playing GM, I think we all understand the position we’re in in the division,” Morton said. “I think we all think that we’re more than capable of winning the division. And at the same time, we’re under .500, we’re (four) games back in the division. There’s a lot of unknowns, understandably so, just because of where we are.
“But I think we all believe in the group that we have in the clubhouse. So from that standpoint, I don’t think there’s any point to speculating because we believe in ourselves that we can do it. We just need to get on a roll.”
-- D’Arnaud, sidelined since May 1 with a thumb injury, worked out with the Braves in New York again Wednesday and is scheduled to join Triple-A Gwinnett at Memphis on a rehab assignment Thursday. Snitker didn’t have a specific timetable for when d’Arnaud might be ready to play in a major-league game: “He’s going to have to build up to catch nine innings.”
-- Ynoa, sidelined since mid-May with a broken right hand, threw three innings in a simulated game Tuesday at the Braves’ facility in North Port, Fla., “and everything went great,” Snitker said. Ynoa is scheduled to make a rehab appearance for the Braves’ minor-league affiliate at Rome on Sunday, that team announced. “The plan right now is to get him stretched out as a starter,” Snitker said. He left open the possibility of using Ynoa as a reliever if the situation changes, but “we want to get him stretched out so he can start.”
-- Drew Smyly, who left his last start after four innings with knee pain, is scheduled to start Thursday’s 12:10 p.m. finale of the five-game series against the Mets.