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

  • Michael Borgia

    Not sure how to feel about this yet… First reaction is that it better be cheap and very incentive laden

  • Sealift67

    Seems like a ‘Ben Sheets”-type move re hoping to come back strong
    for a half season with little risk as he tries to showcase for a long term
    deal. Wren loves rehab jobs. If healthy has good hits to innings and
    K to BB ratios.

    • nash_braves

      This is a depth signing by Wren, just like the Hamilton signing. When Floyd is ready to pitch he will go to A or AA for rehab starts, then stretch out at AAA. He is this year’s Freddy Garcia. If there is an injury in Atlanta in August or September, he may get a chance, if he is ready.

  • fireboss

    When I saw this last night or rather this morning about 2 am I started to write that this was the Braves. It is a typical Wren give the infirm a job tactic. Like Sealift67 says Ben Sheets was that guy, Troy Glaus was it in 2010, knees and arm shot but cheap and had 6 weeks of okay play before he broke down. Garrett Anderson had arthritis so the Angels didn’t sign him but we put him in left field where he did his statute imitation, he hit a little but was a -1.4 WAR player. Floyd Could be okay but he could also not pitch much this year ala Beachy last. Time will tell. But Wren is out there running around in the thunder storms trying hard to catch lightning in his bottle.

  • Lee Trocinski

    TJ surgery only needs 12 months of rehab to get back to major league level pitching. It probably takes the extra 6 months to get back 100% of prior level, but he could be opening the season in the minors in a rehab stint. Strasburg and Zimmermann were both pitching in the minors 11 months after surgery.

    As far as Floyd himself, average is valuable. As a 6th starter, you’re not going to find many better. It’s a nice move, as long as the guaranteed price isn’t too much.

    • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

      Just using Beachy as a model, the 12 months figure seems rather optimistic… subject to your disclaimer: you might be _back_, but not necessarily effective for a while longer.

  • Brandon_Woodworth

    How is anyone surprised at this? This move is SO WREN.

  • Matthew Jones

    I vaguely remember the Braves being rumored to trade for him a few years ago. Not even sure when…

  • Benjamin Chase

    This is right along with the type of guy I was envisioning. I’d love to see one or more guys like this brought on board, if possible.

    • fireboss

      Uh, why? You’re right that this is a typical Wren signing and I like a healthy, in form Floyd as a middle to back of the order veteran guy. He doesn’t however provide more mound presence that Minor, Medlen, Teheran or Beachy. What the rotation needs is an impact arm, we have 5 or 6 middle of the order arms already. Besides his surgery wasn’t a simple TJ and he won;t be ready until mid-year, that provides cover and innings in the second half but doesn’t improve the rotation in any way other than depth.

      • Benjamin Chase

        Uh, because the team needs it.

        An impact arm simply isn’t out there in the Braves’ price range of prospects and/or money. Frankly, I think there are more impact arms in the current rotation than are available in trade currently, so I wouldn’t overspend for guys like Price/Garza. The team’s elite level young pitchers will likely not be 230 inning guys, though, so a guy or two to ease the innings from young arms in the heat of the summer is a perfect fit.

        I would like to see the Braves bring in a guy like Johan or someone who would be available from day one and possibly allow the young arms and Beachy even more leeway in their development/recovery. That’s the “one or more guys like this” I mean. I know no one wants to trust the young starters to step up, but eventually, they have to if the team wants to compete in their current payroll model, and chasing that “ace” will only continually drain the talent pool and cash resources available while further holding back young arms from blossoming.

        • fireboss

          Minor (204) , Medlen (197), Teheran (185 2/3) will all hit 200 + innings this year and 230 should be doable for at least two of them. Beachy probably restricted to 170, Woody should be around 140. They had the second most innings from starters in the league behind Cincinnati. With Hudson and Maholm missing we lost 319 innings. Beachy picks up 130 of those, Woody 70 leaving us 119 short. I don’t expect Floyd to give us more than about 70. The rest Hale should be able to deliver. None of those arms is an impact arm, they are all all low 90′s guys. Johan’s shoulder is shot.
          As far as I can tell no one has chased an ace, they’ve paid lip service to it but done nothing productive about it. No one wants to do anything silly with our talent like wasting it on the wrong guy but it also does no good to stockpile young talent at any position until the perfect trade comes along because it never does. Young talent is acquired to help the major league team. That can be done by playing for them or by being traded for someone who can play for them take the next step. Falling in love with prospects is as big a mistake as trading them for one year wonders or the current flavor of the day.

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