Braves address bullpen with trade for Brad Brach

Brad Brach, 32, had 11 saves in 42 games with the Orioles this season

The Braves addressed their bullpen Sunday, acquiring right-hander Brad Brach from the Orioles for an international signing slot.

It’s the Braves’ second addition to the bullpen this weekend after they traded for Jonny Venters from the Rays for another international signing slot.

Like Venters, Brach was acquired for the minimum value, $250,000. The Braves are limited to $300,000 per player due to restrictions in the international market.

Brach, 32, owns a 4.85 ERA, partially a product of bad luck and well above his career 3.16 mark.

“We needed to add some bullpen,” Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “We had talked about Brach on and off for a while. Look, he’s not having the year he’s had in the past. We think there’s some upside there. There’s been some bad luck. If you look, batting average on balls in play and things like that are a little high. There could be some things with his mix that we looked at; there could be some tweaks there.”

The Braves are buying low hoping Brach recovers from a poor season with baseball’s worst team. Brach owns a 10.80 ERA in July, allowing 10 earned runs in 6-2/3 innings. Opponents have hit .408 against him in that span.

But the reward certainly outweighs the risk. From 2012-17, Brach posted a 2.96 ERA with 411 strikeouts against 166 walks in 386-1/3 innings (346 appearances). He limited right-handers to a .200 average over that time and left-handers to a .232 mark.

“No guarantees or assurances, but we think there’s some upside based on his success, track record, what he has done,” Anthopoulos said. “We think potentially our ballpark, our league, our defense, maybe some things things with game planning (will help). … We felt there was some upside to get him back to when he performed at a high level or close to it – certainly at a higher level than he’s doing right now.”

Brach resides in Nashville, and there was some previous thought the Braves would be his preferred destination. He, like most veteran Orioles, has been caught in trade winds for the past year.

The Braves are reworking their struggling bullpen prior to Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline. The team is also believed to be seeking a controllable starter and bench help.

Brach is a free agent after the season. He’s reunited with former teammates Nick Markakis and Ryan Flaherty in Atlanta.

“The fact he has pitched late innings, great clubhouse guy, those are all things that are a plus for us,” Anthopoulos said. “If he’s not having the year he’s having, you don’t acquire him at this rate. Sometimes guys just have down years and you can never really know if a guy is going to turn it around, but you look for some things that you think you might have some upside and a guy might click.”