Normally it’s pretty tough being an Atlanta Braves fan when the Trade Deadline starts to heat up.
Usually the Braves will be serious playoff contenders — if not the favorite to win the National League at the time — yet the front office doesn’t make that one move that might put Atlanta over the top. The lack of activity can be frustrating and may have even cost the team playoff births in recent years.
So when it came to this year’s Trade Deadline, I didn’t get over anxious about the Braves pulling the triggers. And then it appeared that General Manager Frank Wren did just that when reports surfaced about Atlanta acquiring Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster, who led all MLB starters in ERA at the time. I was ecstatic when the story broke, but as you may know by now, Dempster vetoed the trade, killing it dead within24 hours.
While Dempster’s decision was a bit disheartening, it led me to think about what the Braves already have. Overall, Atlanta’s starting pitching can hang with just about any team’s right now if you throw Jair Jurrjens out of the conversation. A lot of that success if coming from a new face to Atlanta, Ben Sheets. The veteran righty is one of the best in baseball since signing with the Braves at the beginning of July. He may not have pitched in two years, but he looks like an ace right now with a 3-0 record and a remarkable 0.50 ERA in just three starts. (more…)