Just now: Braves rotation answer could come courtesy of familiar…

Braves rotation answer could come courtesy of familiar trade partner.

It’s been an offseason full of wheeling and dealing for the Atlanta Braves so far, yet they have still not addressed what was their biggest concern entering the offseason. The starting rotation.

Yes, the additions of Jarred Kelenic, Aaron Bummer, and Reynaldo Lopez were good ones, but the Braves still need another starter to complete one of the National League’s best rotations. It felt like Atlanta would pursue one of the big-name starters, but we’ve only heard them really connected to Aaron Nola who quickly re-signed with the Phillies. Sure, a few other names have popped up, but they’ve garnered insignificant traction.

With not much left in free agency, Atlanta could turn to the trade market once again as they continue to search for that final rotation piece. The biggest names on the block right now are Dylan Cease and Corbin Burnes but they’ll cost a fortune. With that in mind, Atlanta could seek out a familiar trade partner in search of their rotation answer.

There’s no way the Athletics will let the Braves fleece them again, right?

The Braves have done most of their offseason work via the trade market in each of the last two offseasons, and have used the same trade partner in both blockbuster deals, the Oakland Athletics. Alex Anthopoulos has taken complete advantage of the reeling A’s in both trades, acquiring Matt Olson and Sean Murphy in consecutive offseasons for virtually nothing. The Brewers of all teams wound up getting the best player Atlanta gave up in those deals, William Contreras.

With the Olson and Murphy deals being such embarrassments for the Athletics franchise, it’s hard to envision them actually doing business with Atlanta again. Still, a Paul Blackburn trade might make too much sense for both sides to ignore.

In this mock trade from Kerry Miller at Bleacher Report, he has Atlanta acquiring Paul Blackburn in exchange for JR Ritchie, the Braves’ sixth-ranked prospect according to MLB.com. This might seem steep on paper, but we have to keep in mind that the Braves farm system is among the worst in the majors. Their sixth-ranked prospect is a lot lower on other teams who have better systems (as evidenced by Ritchie not making the top-10 list of right-handed pitchers). Also, with Ritchie being nowhere near MLB-ready, it’s possible this deal could wind up being another version of Atlanta giving up nothing for a quality rotation arm.

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