The Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals were battling on multiple fronts Wednesday. Not only were they playing for supremacy in the NL East standings at Nationals Park, they were also reportedly battling to acquire some of the top available relief pitchers ahead of the trade deadline.
As it turns out, the Braves won both battles. On the field, they defeated Washington 5-4 in 10 innings.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney and Jeff Passan, they also landed a couple top relievers in Detroit Tigers closer Shane Greene and San Francisco Giants veteran Mark Melancon.
Braves get Shane Greene, pending medicals— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 31, 2019
The Atlanta Braves are nearing a deal to acquire reliever Mark Melancon from the San Francisco Giants, sources tell @Buster_ESPN and me.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2019
Greene, 30, is one of the prized targets at this year’s trade deadline. He’s been one of the best relievers in baseball this year, posting a 1.18 ERA and 21 saves for the Tigers over 38 innings. Robert Murray of The Athletic says the Tigers will receive Joey Wentz and Travis Demeritte in the trade.
Melancon, 34, has a 3.50 ERA in 43 appearances this season. He brings closer’s experience and should slide into a setup role along with Chris Martin, who was acquired from the Texas Rangers on Tuesday. The Giants will receive right-hander Tristan Beck and Dan Winkler from Atlanta, Robert Murray of The Athletic reports.
Though they entered the week with a top-10 ERA, the Braves bullpen has been more shaky than solid this season. That showed in Wednesday's game as Anthony Swarzak and Luke Jackson combined to blow a three-run lead in the final innings.
Greene's arrival will provide a ninth-inning anchor. Melancon and Martin both coming over will allow manager Brian Snitker to use his other bullpen arms in the complementary role they're better suited for.
As for the Nationals, they didn’t come up empty-handed, either. They added three relief pitchers — Daniel Hudson from the Toronto Blue Jays, plus Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland from the Seattle Mariners in separate deals, according to various reports.
The Tigers reportedly sought Nationals top prospect Carter Kieboom in a deal, which squashed those talks and put Atlanta in position to make the trade.
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