ATLANTA -- Less than 24 hours before the arrival of this year's non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Braves were still searching for ways to upgrade their rotation. But with limited attractive options available, they were also exploring ways to upgrade their bullpen and bench.
The Braves were among the teams the Red Sox recently called to gauge interest in Josh Beckett, who is owed approximately $37 million through the end of the 2014 season. There does not seem to be a fit for Beckett in Atlanta, nor does it seem that the Red Sox are going to fulfill the Braves' wish to make Jon Lester available before Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET cutoff.
As the Deadline approaches, it has become clearer that the Rays will likely keep veteran starter James Shields, who drew interest from a handful of teams, including the Braves, but the future of Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster remained cloudy. The Dodgers still have not been able to complete the trade that would let Dempster spend the season's final two months in Los Angeles.
If the Dodgers and Cubs continue to struggle to reach an agreement, there is a chance the Braves could end up landing Dempster. But it is apparent that they are not focused on acquiring Dempster, who blocked the trade that would have sent him to Atlanta last week.
This year's trade market has not been a strong one for relievers. But with Kris Medlen potentially making a permanent move to the rotation, the Braves would certainly like to upgrade their bullpen. They have had some discussions about Tampa Bay's Wade Davis, who has an attractive contract and the ability to serve as a starting pitcher in the future.
The Braves have also inquired about Rockies right-handed reliever Rafael Betancourt, but they are not among the teams showing interest in Mariners right-handed reliever Brandon League.