As the 2021 Major League Baseball trade deadline approaches, could the Colorado Rockies help fill a big need for the Atlanta Braves?
Could the Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves be trade partners?
In an article in The Athletic (subscription required) discussing which teams will be buyers and sellers at the trade deadline, the Atlanta Braves, entering Thursday’s play with a 30-35 mark and 7.5 games behind the New York Mets in the National League East, are said to be potential buyers. The article states that one of the team’s biggest needs is “multiple bullpen arms.”
With that thought in mind, enter the Colorado Rockies, a team that is primed to be a seller at the trade deadline. The Rockies have a pair of bullpen arms who could be attractive adds for the Braves, a team that has struggled mightily in the later innings this year.
First, there is Mychal Givens, a reliever the Rockies acquired before last season’s trade deadline in a swap with the Baltimore Orioles. The 31-year-old right-hander has been one of Colorado’s most consistent relievers this season, posting a 2.78 ERA and 1.279 WHIP in 22.2 innings of work. Givens has continued to build upon his reputation as a strikeout pitcher, whiffing 25 batters (9.9 per nine innings) this season. During his days with the Orioles, Givens struck out at least 10 batters per nine innings in all but one season between 2015 and 2020 (a season he split between the Orioles and Rockies).
Another enticing note about Givens is how effective he has been away from Coors Field in 2021. In seven road appearances, opponents have totaled just three hits and no runs against him in 7.0 frames.
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Givens signed a one-year, $4.05 million deal before the season and will become a free agent at the end of the year.
While Givens is the most likely Colorado reliever to move at the trade deadline if a deal with the Rockies can be reached, another possibility is closer Daniel Bard. The 35-year-old right-hander earned NL Comeback Player of the Year honors last season after returning to MLB following a seven-year absence.
This season, Bard has nine saves and has struck out 36 in 27 innings. Entering Thursday, he has allowed no earned runs in 13 of his last 15 appearances.
While the numbers are certainly appealing for other teams, Bard is arbitration eligible next season and won’t become a free agent until the 2023 campaign. He would also turn 38 during that season, so it’s possible that, if the Rockies choose to hang on to him, he could end his career in Denver.
Bard’s contract status and his role as an experienced leader in the bullpen could well prevent the Rockies from moving him at the deadline. However, if the right deal came along, nothing could be ruled out as the Rockies look to rebuild toward relevancy.