Gavin Floyd from 2012. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Braves Close to Acquiring Gavin Floyd

 

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

And with this, it appears that the Atlanta Braves are apparently rather far along in the process of signing 30-year-old free agent RH pitcher Gavin Floyd to a contract.  Didn’t see this one coming, that much is certain.

On May 6th of 2013, it was announced that Floyd, then of the White Sox, would have his ulnar collateral ligament surgically repaired (that’s the ‘Tommy John‘ surgery), thus ending his season and starting a 14-19 month recovery timetable.  Up to that point in 2013, he had not been pitching up to his usual standard.. which is frankly about ‘average’:  his lifetime ERA+ number is exactly 100.

Prior to that big setback, Floyd was finishing up a multi-year deal with Chicago, one that paid him $9.5 million in 2013.  He had been drafted by Philadelphia and pitched for them until the 2006 off-season.  He was part of a trade that sent Freddy Garcia (yep – that’s the guy we had in September) to Philly for himself and Gio Gonzalez.

He actually was a decent middle-of-the-rotation guy for Chicago, logging 206, 193, 187, 194, and 168 innings from 2008-2012 before the abbreviated 2013.  His American League ERA tallies were 3.84, 4.06, 4.08, 4.37. and 4.29 over those years… which would translate reasonably well to the National League.  Floyd is a generally a ground-ball pitcher and is generally effective if he can keep his HR/Fly ball ratio down around 10-12%, which should be a little easier at Turner Field.    By means of comparison, Mike Minor is about 3% better on his HR/FB ratio, while Floyd induces 15% more grounders (50% to 35%).  Tim Hudson – definitely considered a ground ball pitcher – averages 50-60% grounders.

Floyd is not going to overpower hitters:  his fastball works at about 91-92 mph with an 84 mph cutter.  His ‘out’ pitch appears to be the curve, which is thrown about 20% of the time vs. 40% fastballs and 20% cutters.  Occasionally something else will be mixed in.

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Sooooo… what does this mean?

1st question:  is this going to be a multi-year deal with Atlanta?  We don’t know yet, but my guess it that the answer is “no”.  It might be one of those big-incentive type deals that you see free agents take whenever they have their “walk year” messed up by injury…. exactly the case here. So if he can ‘re-build’ some kind of pitching reputation, then he gets another free agency shot in 2015.

When can he actually be ready to pitch?  Well, he’s not going to be available to pitch at all until probably about the All-Star break.  I was musing this week about how we cover the loss of Tim Hudson‘s innings.  This could be a means to that end.  If Floyd can work in late July/August/September, then the needed innings are covered when Alex Wood and maybe Beachy start tiring.

Now… that said… let me introduce an alternate opinion:

 

 

But can he really do that?  I don’t think so.  That’s way too early… 12 months is under the shortest-usual recovery period.  The Braves tried to bring back Beachy in June (one year post-op for him), then again later on, and his arm just wasn’t ready for prime time.  That could easily be the situation here as well.  That’s also why I expect a heavily-incentivised deal.  It may be that Atlanta only gets a decent month or two out of him.  If we’re lucky, then it’s 3 or 4 months.

Does this mean that we’re done looking for ‘premium’ starting pitching?  In my opinion, no.  If … oh, let me pull out a random name – like David Price, perhaps… becomes available in the next couple of months, then yeah – we pull that trigger… no doubt on that at all.  But I do think it means that we’re likely out of the sweepstakes for a guy like Jeff Samardzija, who actually grades out a bit worse than Floyd.

So in other words, this is kind of like making a trading-deadline acquisition… right months before the actual trading deadline.  You can certainly say that it would be the second such deal this Fall, since Jonny Venters re-upped last month (avoiding arbitration).  He likewise won’t be pitching until late Spring at the earliest.

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Floyd is originally from Annapolis, Maryland, and was a first round draft pick in 2001… 4th overall.  His major league debut came at age 21 as a Phillie.

I suppose Frank Wren wasn’t lying at all when he said he had a couple of deals in the works as they left Disney on Thursday.  :D

Tags: Atlanta Braves Gavin Floyd

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