Once the calendar turns over to June, talks toward the MLB trade deadline start to heat up. Who will be buyers? Sellers? Who are the ones right on the cusp, the in-betweeners? For the Atlanta Braves, they look to be in line to be buyers again.

Normally, this is the time of year when the Braves start to take a commanding lead over their division foes. But that's not the case for the 2024 season thus far. The Braves are actually behind the Philadelphia Phillies, who have the second-best record in all of baseball with a 49-25 record, seven games better than Atlanta, who sits at 41-31.

The good news for the Braves is that they still have the fourth-best record in the National League and hold a 5.5-game lead in the Wild Card standings. In fact, the National League has been so bad this season that the Braves are the last team that has a .500 record or better.

Still, this hasn't been the way that Atlanta has wanted to start their season. For the first time since May of 2022, they fell under .500 in a month and lost five games in a row for the first time since September of 2017. But games aren't the only thing the Braves have lost. They've continued to be riddled with injuries going back to the very first game of the season.

Just recently did catcher Sean Murphy make his long-awaited return after suffering an oblique injury in the first game. Others, like Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies, have been put on the injured list, while the team still awaits relief pitchers AJ Minter and Tyler Matzek's returns. They now have centerfielder Michael Harris II out with a hamstring injury.

But at least the Braves get those guys back at some point. The same can't be said for two of their best players, albeit at two very important positions. Cy Young hopeful Spencer Strider went down back in April with a season-ending elbow injury, and then the icing on the cake was Ronald Acuña Jr. suffering his second ACL tear, though in a different knee, in the last four seasons.

Throughout all that, though, the Braves have held on, while currently boasting a .500 record of 8-8 in June so far. But it goes without saying that this may be one of the more important MLB trade deadlines in recent memory for Atlanta, who may be much needier than they've been in the past.

Even though the National League has been down, the Braves still need to make some additions to sustain, at the very least, their Wild Card position. Here's how they can do that:

Adding outfield and bench depth

Losing Acuña was a major blow, no matter if the former National League MVP was struggling or not. But then losing Harris for the foreseeable future only made matters worse. With both Harris and Acuña out, Jarred Kelenic has had to take over the leadoff spot. Surprisingly, the former Mariner has done pretty well at that spot in the order. In five games, he's gone 9-for-22 with one double, two homers, scoring six runs with three RBIs.

However, the outfield as a whole has been completely reshuffled. The Braves have since had to recall Forrest Wall from Triple-A, along with bringing in Ramon Laureano. Both have been serviceable in their short amount of time, but it's likely the Braves will seek some productive outfield bats before the end of the trade deadline.

Some to look out for would be Boston Red Sox's Tyler O'Neill, Oakland Athletics' Brent Rooker, and Chicago White Sox's Tommy Pham, to name a few. In a perfect world, that would probably be a combination of Pham and Rooker. In Rooker's case, Anthopoulos is certainly no stranger to making trades with the A's.

Adding a starting pitcher, fifth starter

Even though losing Acuña was going to be major, it perhaps wasn't as significant as losing Strider. The Braves ace hasn't been easily replaceable since he went down after just two starts.

It's not as if the Braves haven't tried, though. They've sent to the bump seven different pitchers who have started 17 games that have gone a measly 2-9. Sure, the sputtering offense had a lot to do with that over the past month, but not a single one of those pitchers has a sub-4.50 ERA. Spencer Schwellenbach has started to come along some over his last two starts, going 1-2 with a 4.98 ERA in 21.2 innings pitched. But who knows if that is sustainable, especially if the offense hits another skid.

Atlanta desperately needs to find its fifth starter somewhere out there on the market, and there will be some available. But what will general manager Alex Anthopoulos deem as a fair asking price for one is the real question. Who from the farm would he be willing to let go of?

No one pulls more rabbits out of their hat than Anthopoulos, and he'll look to probably do so again at this year's deadline, reaching into the obscure places in the league not many will have wandered to find a hopeful gem. He did it with Reynaldo Lopez during the offseason.

Some that could be put on the market would be Red Sox right-hander Nick Pivetta, Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Zach Eflin — who the Braves have already been linked to — Chicago White Sox left-hander Garrett Crochet and right-hander Erick Fedde, and Los Angeles Angels' Tyler Anderson.

Out of all those, Anderson is having the best season with a 2.58 ERA in 87.1 innings pitched, though with a 6-6 record.

Adding relievers

The Braves currently hold the fifth-best ERA in the league for relief pitching (3.32). Their bullpen is also the best in the league at not allowing walks, leading the league with only 76. And whenever they do allow men on base, they usually don't score. They've allowed a second-best 80 runs, keeping men on base 78.4 percent of the time, which is best in the MLB, according to FanGraphs.

But as the season winds down, sometimes so does the stamina of a bullpen, where fresh arms are needed. Anthopoulos has always been a huge proponent for a strong bullpen, which is what essentially helped the Braves win the 2021 World Series. More added relief arms will always be a necessity, and there are some familiar faces in Red Sox's Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin possibly available should Boston decide to sell. If the Braves could even pull off one of those, it would continue to enhance their bullpen as one of the best in the league.