MLB Rumors: Braves Focused on ‘pursuing' Madison Bumgarner Trade

It's still unclear what the Giants plan to do as the MLB trade deadline approaches.

A month ago, they were clear-cut sellers with big pieces like Madison Bumgarner and All-Star closer Will Smith expected to be shipped off for a hefty return. But after a 15-3 stretch put them back in the thick of the NL wild-card discussion, the Giants might no longer be sellers. No, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi hasn't stopped fielding calls, but it feels like the Giants have taken a step back when it comes to trade discussions. 

With the July 31 deadline a little over a week away, how the Giants fare in their next two series against the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres can go a long way to determining whether they buy or sell. 

While teams might not be certain of the Giants' deadline plans, one team remains in hot pursuit of a potential trade for Bumgarner.

The Atlanta Braves, who currently sit atop the NL East at 60-41, would like to acquire a top of the rotation arm as October approaches, and they remain focused on Bumgarner, The Athletic's Jim Bowden reported Monday. 

The Braves have a deep farm system and could overwhelm the Giants in a Bumgarner trade, but Atlanta -- like the rest of baseball -- isn't sure that the Giants will be sellers at the deadline.

[RELATED: MLB trade deadline: Predicting landing spot for top players]

Bumgarner also has an eight-team no-trade list, and the Braves are one of the teams he has the power to void a trade to. The ace left-hander could use the no-trade list as a leverage play to steer where he wants to be traded to or could shut talks down and elected to finish out the season with the Giants, hoping to give manager Bruce Bochy one last October run. 

There are nine days until the trade deadline and the hot stove is just starting to get cooking. Stay tuned.

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