Feb 16, 2014; Lake Buena Vistas, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Gavin Floyd (32) throws during spring training at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Braves' rotation up for grabs on Overstock dot com?

David Hale will be the first victim in an overcrowded rotation. Who’s next?

Gettin’ CROWDED in here! Oh, HALE NO!

David Hale has a 2.31 ERA. His FIP comes in at 3.21, so yes, his ERA is deceivingly low, but so are the other pitchers in the Braves starting staff who benefit from the defense behind them.  Thus far, the Braves have a combined 28 defensive runs saved, 13 of which come from Jason Heyward who leads the Majors in that category.  Analyzing those numbers, it’s easy to see why the starting staff’s ERA is lower than their FIP as the defense alone has saved over 1 run per game.  That’s UNREAL! Back to David Hale

Hale has likely seen his last start with the Braves for quite some time as Mike Minor looks to be taking his spot in the rotation the next go around. Hale will either be sent down to AAA to stay stretched out in case one of the pitchers go down, stop producing, or he’ll join the bullpen at the expense of Gus Schlosser.  Truth be told, I think it could go either way.  This is a fantastic problem to have, however it is just that; a problem.  It gets worse…

In a week’s time, Gavin Floyd will be ready to join the pitching staff, the Major League pitching staff, in some role, e.g. starting or

relieving.  This will make 7 starting candidates for 5 starting spots, 1 unlucky starter moved to mop-up man duties, and one unlucky starter being moved to AAA Gwinnett to stay stretched out. In my opinion this is not a wise use of resources.  With the need for starting pitching around the league, there’s reason to believe that the time to sell-high on one of our starters is immediate.

David Hale is a good pitcher that is pitching out of his MIND right now. While his ERA and FIP are both very good, his peripherals tell that his success, above all other starting candidates, is not sustainable.  There are many pitching-hungry teams out there that would drool over a 3.50-4.00 ERA pitcher that is cost-controlled for the next 5 years and would be willing to give up a legit prospect, and maybe a throw-in or 2, to acquire said pitcher.  Right now, a 3.50-4.00 ERA pitcher would be our 5th starter. More likely as not, there are already 2 candidates that can fill that void. So why sell high on David Hale?

Here are my reasons:

1. He’s the only candidate of he, Aaron Harang, and Floyd that could bring back a significant return this early.

2. He’ll likely never be anything more than a 5th starter/mop-up man with the Braves.

3. It would be the first time since Omar Infante that the Braves have sold high.

4. Packaging him with Dan Uggla would be the only chance in Hades that the Braves could get a team to pay any portion of Uggla’s contract (and still that would be stretch).

So, what do the Braves need?

There is next to no impact bats in the Braves organization, and less at 3rd base.  The Braves’ Chris Johnson, like many on the Tomahawk Take staff predicted, has taken a very large step back in his offensive production.  While he’ll likely rebound a bit from his current production, the chance that he’s played his best baseball already is almost certain.  The Braves need a near-Major League ready 3rd baseman that could take the reins from Chris in 2 years, or even earlier as Chris isn’t known for his glove and if he isn’t hitting, he isn’t an asset.

So, who fits the bill?

There are many teams that are seriously struggling  in Starting Pitching.  Let’s evaluate the teams and see if there are any fits for a future 3rd baseman! Click each team’s name for their Top-20 prospects, and scroll to find names.

1. Arizona Diamondbacks-  Worst in the Majors at a 6.32 ERA and just so happens to have a nice 3b prospect, Jake Lamb at AA.

2. Minnesota Twins- Also a +6 ERA team with #2 prospect Miguel Sano currently blocked by Trevor Plouffe.  He underwent Tommy John surgery in March (should be known as the Kelly Johnson surgery when applied to position players) so that, along with his path blocked, could provide reason for the Twins to deal him.   They’d be selling VERY low.  There’s also Jorge Polanco who seems to be in the mold of Placido Polanco with serious on-base skills and less power than your average 3-bagger. One other would be Travis Harrison, a 21 year-old 3b in High-A.  A few interesting options.

3. Chicago White Sox- A few prospects that could be decent, but nothing looks like a potential starter at 3rd base.

4. Baltimore Orioles- The farm is dry at 3rd base for the O’s.  It’s good they have the best 3rd baseman in the game on the big league club!

5. Cleveland Indians- Aside from top prospect Francisco Lindor, the infield prospects of the Indians look like glove-first shortstops that would lose serious value if moved off of shortstop. Lindor, unfortunately, is the heir apparent to Asdrubal Cabrera and seems to be more valued to the Indians than Andrelton was to the Braves.

This is just a few of the teams that were cherry-picked from a list of teams in need of successful starting pitching.  Thoughts? Additions?

Tags: Atlanta Braves David Hale Gavin Floyd Mike Minor

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