The Atlanta Braves need bullpen help, and they need it from the left side. Incumbent left-hander Luis Avilan has been jettisoned to the minor leagues after posted a 4.85 ERA (it felt even worse) across 47 appearances this season, and youngster Chasen Shreve is anything but proven. In that vein, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that the Braves have turned their attention toward potentially acquiring Boston Red Sox left-hander Andrew Miller via trade.
The Braves are believed to be looking closely at lefty Andrew Miller of the Red Sox as their prime bullpen target, with some other lefties in the mix.
Miller, who is now 29 years old, was formerly an elite starting pitching prospect with both the Detroit Tigers and Miami Marlins, but in recent seasons, he has emerged as an upper-echelon left-hander out of the bullpen. During the 2014 season, Miller has posted a 2.52 ERA (1.77 FIP) with more than 14 strikeouts per 9 innings, and that follows up a season in which he finished with a 2.64 ERA (3.05 FIP) with similar strikeout proficiency.
Later, Heyman touches on a few additional bullpen options that could be in the sights of Frank Wren.
Atlanta has identified lefty in the pen as its biggest need, with Oliver Perez, who interested the Braves in the winter, Wesley Wright, Neal Cotts, Tony Sipp and Mike Dunn are among other accomplished pen lefties believed available in trade.
Miller is clearly the top arm among those candidates, but quite honestly, any member of the list (including old friend Mike Dunn) would be an upgrade on the current options for Fredi Gonzalez. The Braves have legitimate World Series aspirations, but it is tough to envision a scenario in which Atlanta goes to battle with their current bullpen in October. Stay tuned.