The Atlanta Braves need a little bit of help. With their revered hitting lineup not playing up their previous form, the team needs some help holding leads and preventing runs. That means that their pitching will likely need to step up. For the most part, it's been pretty good: Max Fried and Chris Sale have been excellent lately, while Charlie Morton and Reynaldo Lopez are solid pieces, with Lopez in particular being a revelation.

That being said, the Braves might be thinking of adding another arm to their rotation. Spencer Strider's season-ending injury left a bit of a hole in their rotation. Bryce Elder was called up, and he's been fine. However, they might prefer a more veteran presence in that role.

With that in mind, it makes sense that the Braves are eyeing people on the market to potentially trade for before the deadline. One of the Braves' targets is a veteran from the American League: Tampa Bay Rays starter Zach Eflin, per Bob Nightengale.

“Atlanta is keeping a close eye on Tampa Bay Rays veteran starter Zach Eflin if they decide they need another starter at the trade deadline.”

Eflin has been unspectactular for the Rays, with an ERA of 4.12. That being said, one of his strengths has been his ability to avoid walking batters. Depending on how their pitching staff shapes up, the Braves might think about trying to “rehabilitate” Eflin and hope he performs better than their current No.5 starter.

Braves' championship campaign

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Zach Eflin (24) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves, as always, are looking to win that World Series again. Since capturing the pennant in 2021, Atlanta has found a lot of regular season success. However, that simply has not translated to the postseason. The Braves are hoping to buck that trend and make this their year.

However, their 2024 campaign started off on the wrong foot. There was a lot of hype around Spencer Strider's third season in the majors. The Braves starter was set to make his mark as the “ace” of the club. However, after an off outing, it was revealed that Strider would miss the season due to an elbow injury. That injury has changed the outlook of the team.

It's painful to say, but Elder has been the weak point of the Braves' rotation in his return to the majors. Elder has never been a strikeout artist, but his strength last season was forcing weak contact and allowing his defense to make a play. So far, though, Elder has been allowing more hard-hit balls than ever, leading to a disastrous 4.79 ERA in four games while only pitching 20.2 innings. It's been a rough season for Elder, to say the least.

Still, this is a player that was voted to the All-Star Game last season for his solid play on the mound. The Braves will go and use this time to assess if Elder can still return to that previous form. If not… well, then Atlanta will go hunting for a fifth starter in the trade market. Eflin is an option, but as the season goes on, there might be more attractive options on the market.