Beachy not peachy: A day after Kris Medlen walked off the mound with an apparent injury in the middle of a start, Brandon Beachy was pulled from his start early. Beachy describes the non-injury:
“I’m not worried at all about it,” Beachy said. “I’ve seen the doctors, and they’ve done everything. My ligament is fine. I’ve got some inflammation in there and it got a little too tight in my bicep. It was just unproductive to keep pushing and fighting through it.
“I’m not scared at all. I didn’t come in here feeling 100 percent. This is something I’ve been dealing with. It had been getting easier the harder I threw and the harder I pushed. Today, it just got a little too tight on me.”
It’s definitely early Spring caution, but it’s doubly troubling since there were already concerns about Beachy’s drop in velocity. These issues date back to last season when Beachy couldn’t regain velocity or comfort in his throwing arm as he worked his way back from Tommy John surgery. Then, as it is now, there was inflammation and tightness in his arm that wouldn’t go away, and prevented him from regaining his full velocity.
Free agent still on the market: With the possibility of injuries in the starting rotation the rumors have started about the Braves potential interest in still free agent Ervin Santana. He hasn’t had any takers on his request for a multi-year contract, and rumors are that he’s willing to accept a one-year deal and go back out on the market again next year. There are three problems with Santana: first, he’s likely beyond the Braves budget, as he’s asking for upwards of $14 million a year. Second, signing him would cost the Braves their first round draft pick. And third, he’s really not that good. He’s very Bronson Arroyo-esque — a good pitcher, but not one that a team like the Braves should pay top dollar for. This would be like making the Derek Lowe mistake all over again. If Medlen and/or Beachy are not available, the last thing the Braves should do is panic and sign Santana. Either use internal options, or explore the trade market. It may be a few days before we know the full impact of these two injuries, so we’ll have to wait to see what the Braves needs actually are.
Braves trade and salary reality: Buster Olney has a good quote from an MLB evaluator he spoke with:
“I’d say in terms of acquisition cost,” he said, “Atlanta could surf the back end of other teams rosters, looking particularly closely at out-of-options guys like Zach Britton, Vance Worley, Samuel Deduno — maybe a Franklin Morales if the price is right or a Cesar Ramos if he continues to start and the Rays don’t have a spot for him.
“It’s just impossible to see Atlanta taking on significant money, and they seem to be reluctant to give up any prospects of value, which is presumably what L.A. would want in return for either Beckett or Maholm. Other than that, it’s really a pretty thin area — no one is out there saying that they have too much starting pitching and teams always seem reluctant to move a usable major league piece off their roster at this time of year.”
Remember this when you read all those rumors in the coming days.
Zach attack: The Braves acquired RHP Zach Stewart from the White Sox in exchange for cash considerations. Stewart is likely just triple-A rotation filler, though with all the injury issues the last few days he may be called on to be more. He’s got Major League experience as a starter and a reliever. Stewart has already been traded four times in his MLB career — as part of a package for Scott Rolen from the Reds to the Jays, in one of many Edwin Jackson trades, a Kevin Youkilis trade, and another minor trade. This is the fifth time he’s been traded in the past six years, and it will be his fifth organization. This is the second time the White Sox have traded him.
Replay Ramirez: Former Braves pitcher Horacio Ramirez has been hired by Atlanta as a coaching assistant, and will sit behind-the-scenes (in the clubhouse) and inform Fredi Gonzalez of plays he should challenge under MLB’s new instant replay system. He also gives the Braves a left-handed coach who can throw batting practice, and will apparently take somewhat of an apprenticeship role under pitching coach Roger McDowell.
Odds going down: I talked about the odds yesterday, and today the william hill website has me thinking that those 20-to-1 odds of the Braves chances to win the World Series are taking a serious hit. Odds are just that, but it feels better when they’re in your favor.
Uggla article: Jayson Stark has a nice article up about Dan Uggla.
International talent: Baseball America has a review of the Braves 2013 international signing class (subscription required).