The Atlanta Braves will not be dealing starting pitcher Julio Teheran prior to tomorrow’s MLB trade deadline, according to a report by Jon Morosi of Fox Sports.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 31, 2016
With the Braves just starting an extensive rebuild, many believed Teheran would be available for trade this summer, even if he came at a huge price. However, Braves general manager John Coppolella has continuously refuted Teheran trade rumors and seems set on keeping him through the trade deadline and beyond in the hopes he will be on the next competitive Braves’ team.
Following a run of five consecutive seasons of at least 86 wins, the Braves fell off in 2014 and 2015. Atlanta finished a miserable 67-95 last season and decided to hire Coppolella as the general manager following the season.
Over the past two years, the Braves have shipped off multiple members of their core, including Jason Heyward, Craig Kimbrel, and Andrelton Simmons. Coppolella and company have generally done a great job rebuilding, particularly with the Shelby Miller trade to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the offeseason, as Atlanta now has one of the top farm systems in the Majors.
Predictably, all the moves have weakened the Braves at the MLB level considerably, and they have a league-worst record of 37-68. As the Braves are a few years away from seriously contending for the postseason, many expected Freddie Freeman and Teheran to be the next veteran pieces shipped away.
Teheran was up briefly with the Braves in 2011 and 2012 before earning a full-time rotation spot the next season. Over his first two full seasons, Teheran was quite solid, including posting a 2.89 ERA (3.49 FIP) and 3.2 WAR in 221 innings in 2014 per Fan Graphs.
Last year, Teheran regressed heavily to a 4.04 ERA (4.40 FIP) with a walk rate that shot up from 5.8 percent to a career-high 8.7. Fortunately for the Braves, Teheran answered any questions about his future value this season by bouncing back with a 2.81 ERA (3.69 FIP) with nearly eight strikeouts per innings.
The 25-year-old is under contract until at least 2019 plus an option for 2020 at a very team-friendly price of $37.5 million total. While Teheran is not an ace, a No. 2 or 3 starter with a good contract who has thrown 185 innings or more three straight seasons is still very valuable.
The Braves’ rebuilding focus has been on stockpiling young pitching talent like Sean Newcomb, John Gant, and Kolby Allard. While many of those prospects won’t even make the Majors, let alone be more effective than Teheran down the line, the Braves really need more offense, and he could have been used as a trade chip to address multiple holes.
Given the return we’ve seen for Drew Pomeranz, Aroldis Chapman, and Andrew Miller at this deadline, the Braves could have received a huge haul for Teheran if they chose to trade him. Atlanta’s decision is bad news for the Texas Rangers, who needed a mid-rotation pitcher like Teheran and would have parted with considerable young talent to get him.
[Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images]