Why keeping Teheran didn’t make the Braves deadline losers

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran (49) delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies Saturday, July 30, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Still a Brave. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Radio determined that the Atlanta Braves were trade deadline losers because they got nothing for Julio Teheran. Everyone being entitled to his/her opinion, I’m not here to do the point/counterpoint thing. But I would note this:

The biggest names seen (by some, if not all) as available at this deadline were Teheran and Chris Sale of the White Sox. Neither was traded. That’s largely because neither is about to become a free agent, which means their employers are in no peril of losing them without compensation. Both the Braves and the Pale Hose would have required an offer beggaring belief to move a No. 1 pitcher on a team-friendly contract. It stands to reason that no such offer was forthcoming.

We’ve guessed before as to what the Braves would have asked had the Red Sox inquired about Teheran – a package starting with shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielder Mookie Betts. No team, even one strapped for arms, would give up two 23-year-old All-Stars. But that’s the point: Some team would have had to overpay wildly for the Braves even to consider trading Teheran.

Last week Baseball Prospectus staged an exercise in which its writers played general manager for various teams and made offers for Teheran. The “winning” bid came from Texas, which was “offering” four prospects. Let’s note, though, that John Coppolella had said: “I’m not trading Julio for prospects.”

See, the Braves have prospects. What they lack is proven big-league talent. The Rangers would have had to offer big-leaguers Jurickson Profar and/or Nomar Mazara to pique the Braves’ interest, and even that mightn’t have sufficed. (Profar is essentially a middle infielder. The Braves have middle infielders on the way.)

The White Sox were different. They wanted only prospects for Sale. (That’s the difference between having the No. 1 farm system and not.) They were believed to be wanting five if not seven. That’s a lot to give for a guy who works 33 times a year. Last week we discussed why the Braves, who have more prospects than most, wouldn’t have made such a trade. If they wouldn’t, who would?

Now: Were the Braves and White Sox “losers” because they didn’t trade their aces? Even though those aces are under club control at an affordable price through 2019 or longer? If you can’t get what you want for Teheran and Sale, why trade him now? So Jim Bowden can declare you a deadline “winner”? There was no expiration date on Teheran/Sale. Their teams can dangle them in November, or next July. Or those teams can simply decide that, if you trade such a pitcher, you might spend the next 10 years chasing one as good.

There’s such hysteria – the proper word – regarding the trade deadline that it’s hard to separate babble from reality. Regarding Teheran, here’s the reality: He’s the best pitcher in an organization rebuilding around pitching, and he’s 25. Had the Angels offered Mike Trout straight up for Teheran, I’d have taken that. Had the Red Sox offered Bogaerts and Betts, I’d have taken that, too. But those were about the only two offers I’d have considered.

Know who the best starting pitcher (going by WAR) traded at the deadline was? Rich Hill, who went from the A’s to the Dodgers. Hill is 36. He’ll become a free agent at season’s end. A year ago, the Reds traded Johnny Cueto, who helped the Royals win a World Series and now works for the Giants. The Tigers traded David Price, who helped the Blue Jays make the playoffs and now works for the Red Sox.

Those are the big-name starting pitchers a rebuilding team moves in July – the rentals. Teheran and Sale wouldn’t be rentals. Unless you’ve been offered the moon and the stars, it makes more sense to keep them.

Further reading: Phase 1 of the Braves’ rebuild is near its end.

Still further: Kemp isn’t what most teams need, but he might suit the Braves.

Further still: The Braves trade for Matt Kemp, and I don’t hate it.

Even further: No demerits for the Braves’ landing of Demeritte.

Reader Comments 0

14 comments
klsfriend
klsfriend

I can't help but laugh every time the phrase "the #1 farm system" is used in reference to the Braves. If volume makes it the #1 system then I suppose it makes sense. But so far none of that farm system "talent" has proven to be much of anything. Number 3 and 4 starters and .260 hitters aren't going to make a title-contending team. Until the farm system can prove its worth at the major league level I don't see how it can be called #1.

TideDawg
TideDawg

Somebody tell me again what makes Freddie Freeman exempt from being traded? It sure isn't clutch hitting.

JosephScali
JosephScali

We don't need 30 year old plus catchers, even though I love Mac and Lucroy. Gators' catcher is a top 5 prospect next June---we'll have a good shot at him.


POV1948
POV1948

A year ago Little John Coppy would have dealt him, followed by a few pompous interviews to make himself sound like he had a clue. Perhaps the Olivera and Aybar fiascos taught him something about the downside of big splash trades.

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

Remember when we refused to trade Tommy Hansen? Or when we refused to trade Jair Jurrgens? And that time we wouldn't part with Mike Minor? All three very similar to Julio. Neither of them was anything more than a seven-inning-pitcher (most often not even that). Neither of them was a true stopper in the rotation. Neither was dominating by any definition. What happened to them is what WILL happen to Julio: We will keep him until he begins to experience a sudden decline in health and ability (figure the middle of next season) and he will trudge along to the end of his contract when we finally lose him with absolutely nothing to show for it. This has happened to every young "star" pitcher that has spent more than a few season with Roger McDowell. It will continue for as long as McDowell sits in that dugout.


Furthermore, adding Matt Kemp to this team is like putting lip stick on a pig and then paying an extra five million dollars a year to kiss it. But that's another story...

Dis custed
Dis custed

@FineousMcDirtyBird   Remember when we didn't trade Glave , Smoltz or Maddox.. Julio may fall in that class as well as he's the only obe close and our lone all-star

RangeRover
RangeRover

When Teheran is your pitching "ace," for a rebuilding team, you'd better trade him for quality, prospects or not.

He's, at best, the 4th or 5th starter on the 10 best teams, and the 3rd starter for the average teams in MLB.

The Braves will regret this when Teheran, once again and predictably, loses 3-5 mph off his fast ball and lefties start pulling him with ease over the right field wall.

Polskidawg
Polskidawg

Perhaps your most accurately written article in a few years Mr. Bradley. 


PS. I'd take Betts & Bogaerts, no doubt. Trout? Maybe.

Marcus Ridenour
Marcus Ridenour

Don't know why you read articles then. But I think M.B. made very good points.

Stinger2
Stinger2

@cspecial Al least they know how to write an article without using all Caps.

Braveschop
Braveschop

So glad we kept Julio we need to build our pitching around him I see good things ahead for the Braves I'm just trying to be patient

colt07
colt07

Heard Ken Rosenthal say this morning the SF Giants have a 'so-so' farm system. They have won 3 championships in the last 6 years. The Braves now have one of the top farm systems and have not won a playoff series in this century. Maybe the farm system is not that important. However our ownership situation does put limits that SF does not have to deal with. May be comparing apples to oranges.

Polskidawg
Polskidawg

@colt07 Giants farm system is so-so because of 2 simple reason: 1 – they've good good for 6 seasons and have drafted at the back-end of the draft, and 2 – they've made a few trades the last few years in July to strengthen their team of a playoff chase/run.


Give the Braves time to do it right.

Dis custed
Dis custed

@colt07 Its still pretty early in the century . I saw a playoff game against the Dodgers not so long ago.