Rotation Problems and Solutions

The Problem: The Braves rotation took a big hit this past week, losing Brandon Beachy to Tommy John surgery. Of course, he will be out for this season and most of next. Beachy was the Braves best starter up to this point. In his 13 starts, he had a league leading 2.00 ERA along with a 3.45 FIP. Beachy would have very likely regressed going forward, in which his peripherals would suggest he wouldn’t be able to sustain his remarkable start. His K’s were down this year, but it was a trade-off for going deeper into games averaging 2/3 of an inning more per start more this year. Anyway you slice it, losing your best starter is a huge blow to the team.

The Braves now must now rely a mix and matched rotation. As of now, It is veteran Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson and rookies Mike Minor and Randall Delgado. The fifth spot in the rotation is currently up for grabs.

*This injury does not change my stance on Medlen

The Solution: That spot in the rotation is due to pitch Friday. The Braves decided to recall Jair Jurrjens from Triple-A. At first it looked as if top prospect Julio Teheran would be recalled. His last start was cut short after four innings, the same night Beachy went down. It looked as if they did this to save him to be recalled and start start Friday. It was later reported that Teheran came out due to back problems. Teheran would have been my pick to fill the 5th spot for now.

I do not see Jair Jurrjens as the permanent solution. His Triple-A numbers were not anything to get excited about, 5.26 ERA/4.46 FIP. He still only has a 4.4 K/9 with a fastball they rarely breaks 90. Hopefully this is only a spot start to fill the rotation. I would much rather see Teheran in the rotation than Jurrjens. The only benefit Jurrjens would have is to regain some trade value, which is very unlikely.

That being said, I do not see Teheran as the permanent solution if the Braves plan to seriously contend. Having a rotation with three rookies is not exactly what you want to see for a contender. The rookies they have were highly regarded prospects and could be in the rotation for years to come, but this does not automatically translate to short-term success.

I would highly recommend the Braves look at the trade market. Being able to pick up another veteran could come in handy down the stretch. The problem is they have traded away a lot of mid-level prospects the past couple years. Combined with the graduation of their top prospects, the system is a little depleted at the moment.

There could be a possible bright spot. This coming from Mark Bowman’s blog…

…the Braves might use some of the money budgeted for the future to address their needs on this year’s trade market.

This is good news because it could open up the Braves to some bigger names pitchers. Pn the other side of the coin, this could also be potentially risky and hurt their chances of resigned current members of the team. Recently rumored was Matt Garza. The Braves sending their top advanced scout to watch Garza is a pretty strong sign they are interested. I would almost rather go after Garza’s teammate, Ryan Dempster. As the trade deadline gets closer I will go over some of the rumors and see which pitchers would provide the greatest net gain to the organization

Summary: The Braves will have to piece together the rotation for now. Hopefully Teheran is healthy and can enter the 5th spot soon. I think a trade is the Braves best option if they plan to contend. Like every move, it all depends what you have to give up in return. The Braves have a very strong core group of position player and pitchers going forward, they shouldn’t burden themselves with a regrettable move or contract just to attempt win this year if it will hurt future years chances.

The success of the rotation going forward will most likely tell the final success of the Braves in 2012. Having three rookies in the rotation will make it hard for them to contend, but it still is possible. The Braves have about a month to see what they can do in-house. Ultimately, I believe they will need to make a move as the trade deadline nears.

Be sure to follow on Twitter: @decisions_brave

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4 Comments on “Rotation Problems and Solutions”

  1. JNick (Justin) says:

    I’m not sure Dempster is a good idea – he’ll cost a top flight prospect, and we’ll get zilch for him at the end of the year. I’d rather the Braves try to go internal with Medlen, and trade for bullpen help (Daniel Bard…more on the reason for this later…). I’d also like to see them swap Juan Francisco for Kevin Youkilis in that deal….and in a really wild addition that 99% of everyone would hate, I’d see if they could somehow get Salty back and give the Red Sox McCann. Mac is on the decline, he’s supposedly “fixed” his swing, but still doesn’t look anything close to his 2008-2010 form – and he’s still only 28…he SHOULD be hitting his prime, instead, he’s been on the decline since 2008….he’s definitely not worth $13 mil….but anyway, back to pitching – I’d prefer Garza to Dempster, and actually, someone like Marcum or even…a reach…Greinke.

    • Andrew Sisson says:

      I dont know how many people have ESPN insider, but here is a good article by Dave Cameron comparing Garza and Dempster.

      http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8025539/mlb-why-teams-trade-ryan-dempster-matt-garza

      Last paragraph:

      “Garza is the brand name product, while Dempster is the generic version, but as in most cases, buying the generic can get you the same product at a fraction of the cost. My advice to teams looking to the Cubs for pitching help — you want Dempster, not Garza.”

      Dempster just went on the DL a couple of days ago so that is something to monitor closely. I do not see the Braves being in the Greinkie running, that will cost them a lot and won’t need to resign he for next year.

      We really won’t need a pitcher for more than the second half of the season, don’t really see us signing a pitcher to a multi year deal.

      • JNick (Justin) says:

        After doing some more reading, I didn’t realize Garza was making so much ($9.5mil) and still has another year of arb eligibility next year – meaning he’ll probably get a raise to about $12mil…..not sure I like that. I guess my concern with Dempster goes to cost (likely, a top prospect) vs return (half a season, and then no compensation if/when he becomes a FA after the season thanks to the new CBA). As much as I hope Jurrjens magically returns to form, I think the chances of that happening are slim….I’m drawing a blank as to who else could be available….seems that Dempster/Garza and Greinke/Marcum (who, I believe is going on the DL now with a sore elbow) are the only names being floated….

        Wait…Joe Saunders? Yep, there’s my top choice….

  2. [...] little over a month ago, I wrote about the Braves rotation problems and solutions. I made a quick note at the end that I would rather go after Dempster than his teammate Matt Garza. [...]


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