Jun 19, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Gavin Floyd (32) injures his elbow in the seventh inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Braves Win Game Lose Gavin Floyd to Broken Elbow

floyd break

Bad Break: Gavin Floyd’s broken olercron send him back to the DL after just 9 starts following his return from two elbow surgeries

Right hander Gavin Floyd was pitching a gem against the Nationals Thursday night then one pitch into his seventh inning he broke his elbow.

It started out as great pitcher’s duel between Floyd and Jordan Zimmermann with the Braves poking their nose in front early.  Floyd was dealing as was the much under rated Zimmermann. Gattis continued to square up pitches and extended his hitting streak to eighteen games. Chris Johnson seemed to have found his stroke and drove in all three Braves runs. Everything was purring along nicely. Skipper Fredi Gonzalez must have thought his luck had finally changed and his bullpen would get the night off because Floyd entered the seventh with just 63 pitches under his belt and both breaking pitches making good hitters look very bad. Unfortunately his night would end with his 64th pitch; a curve that hung inside to Jason Werth and landed 350 or so feet foul. It also caused a big lump to appear in Floyd’s right elbow. He shook his arm, called the trainer out and left the game. X-rays would later show he broke his olercranon. The olercranon is the back end of the ulna, you can feel it as the bit of your elbow that sticks out when you bend your arm.

After the game Floyd told reporters that he believed that scar tissue from his dual elbow surgeries was the cause of the discomfort he felt until he looked at his elbow and saw the protrusion beneath it.

“It was sore before, not in the area I had surgery, so I just thought it was sore…i felt it pop but it wasn’t painful”

It sure looked painful enough. Twitter critters were asking the networks to stop showing the picture of his elbow because it was upsetting. Floyd was of course put on the DL and a move is expected this morning to replace him. I and most believe it will be a recall for Alex Wood who had a second string outing at Gwinnett Wednesday and pitched to a 1.04 ERA allowing seven hits, one run, four walks and eight strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings. A breaking an elbow like that isn’t common but has happened before.

Oddly enough Floyd’s break happened just 10 days short of exactly four years from the June 29th, 2010 injury to Tigers flame thrower Joel Zumaya. Unlike Floyd, Zumaya felt almost immediate pain. An MLB.com report on his injury recounted it this way.

“My first reaction is to follow the ball, and then … I see him go down, and the pain it looked like he was in, you don’t wish on anybody. I didn’t really want to go out there, because I didn’t think it was going to look good, how much pain he was in.”

(Zumaya threw) 99-mph fastball to Delmon Young in the eighth inning of the Tigers’ 7-5 win over the Twins sent Zumaya clutching his right elbow and shaking his hand. Suddenly, as if the pain suddenly hit him, he knelt to the ground in apparent agony.

Although he made several attempts at a comeback, Zumaya eventually retired without throwing another major league pitch. The former Tiger was an injury prone pitcher whose arm was already a battleground. In 2007 he dislocating his right middle finger while warming up in the bullpen then four months later dislocated the AC joint in his shoulder that October in an accident at home. In 2008 he was shutdown after his 21st appearance with a stress fracture in that shoulder and returned for 29 games in 2009 before requiring surgery on that shoulder. All of that likely connected to the AC joint injury and his 100+ mph heater. His retirement however was due directly related to recurring pain in the elbow after the break and that doesn’t bode well for Floyd.

What Now?

As I said the Braves will likely recall Wood instead of move David Hale in to the rotation because Woody is simply a more dominant pitcher. Aside from that the idea that the Braves might trade starting pitching  should be shelved. Aaron Harang has returned to earth and Hale will be needed to replace him as he inevitably fades. The bullpen still requires reinforcements in the form of left handed relief and if Juan Jaime can’t keep his 100mph heater under control maybe more. The scarcity and price of veteran lefties means the next bullpen  lefty tried could be Chasen Shreve currently making life very uncomfortable for hitters in the Southern League as a reliever at Pearl. Shreve’s appeared in  26 games throwing 45 innings with a 0.905 WHIP and a 2.36 ERA and a 7.71 K/BB ratio. The success of Shae Simmons shows the jump from AA can be done if handled correctly.

National pundits continue to include the Braves in the David Price, Jeff Samardzija sweepstakes. Two days ago Jim Bowden writing on ESPN (Insider subscription required) made a proposal for price to get Price.

Every time I ask Braves GM Frank Wren what the one piece is he’d like to add to his club, he tells me a No. 1 starter.. . . The Braves also know that the other elite teams in the NL — the Nationals, Cardinals, Giants and Dodgers — all have better 1-2 punches at the top of the rotation. . (and to pair with Julio Teheran) need to acquire another ace at some point.

He opines that the Braves have the prospects to get Price but would have to throw in  a major league ready piece.

The Rays would love to get Alex Wood, . . . (and) would also insist on getting the Braves’ top pitching prospect, Lucas Sims, who is struggling in the Carolina League this year after going 12-4 with a 2.62 ERA last year at Rome in the South Atlantic League. . . (but) should be able to close the deal with the Rays and, in turn, give the Braves what they need to be legitimate NL East and World Series contenders.

That trade would probably get Samardzija too but based on his track record looks like a pipe dream to me. I don’t think Wren thinks he needs an ace after the performances Teheran has put up this year and believing that Mike Minor will right the ship soon. On top of that he knows even if he won’t admit it that the reason the Braves aren’t 10 games up on the NL East is an erratic, streaky offense carrying two substandard but expensive dead weights. Fredi Gonzalez needs new tools to win the division and get past the opening rounds of the post season. If those tools aren’t provided an ace is a waste.

That’s A Wrap

After Floyd’s fight through rehab for dual elbow surgery (TJ and repair of a torn flexor tendon) the broken elbow puts in question his future as a major league player. He’s certainly out of the running for this year. The elbow will be fragile for a while and once he is fit to start throwing it will be rehab and spring training all over again. Losing Floyd just as he was confirming he was a valuable asset is a body blow to the Braves but Woody’s return will offset that.

The bigger questions are how long they allow Harang to struggle before replacing him with Hale and if after that happens he becomes long man / spot starter or gets released to make room for someone else and whether Gonzalez is forced to continue with  effectively a 24 man roster; Uggla is useless defensively and at the plate. How we strengthen the pen and end the roller coaster like performance of the offense are more immediate concerns. I think Wren’s number one starter spiel is smoke and mirrors for what he’s really after. His big signing has become one of two untradeable disasters and the minor leagues offer no realistic options even if he had a roster that allowed promotion and demotion as an option. I feel bad for Gavin Floyd who worked very hard to get back and hope he recovers successfully. I hope the Braves offense recovers too.

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  • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

    2 possibilities:
    (A) Go with Teheran/Minor/Santana/Wood/Harang for the balance of the year, with Hale in the slot if another need arises. In other words, do nothing.
    (B) If there’s a decent deal available for Hammel, Shark or Price, then I’d flip Harang somewhere.

    Hamel is a rental… but a cheap one. Probably good value here; might be looking for $10-ish per year for 3-4 this off-season (he’s close to 32 yo).
    Samardzija is available for 2014-2015 at cheap rates, too: I expect his price will be the highest among the 3.
    Price is going to be over-priced. I still expect that the Rays are going to expect too much. But he’s still not yet 29. Hmmm….

    • fireboss

      What I’d do and what FW will do are always diametrically opposite. Se also BJ Upton, extend Pradio, etc. So this may be harbinger of the opposite of what will happen but. . . If you’re not comfortable with

      Teheran, Minor, Santana, Wood, Hale and I believe Wren is but that aside if you’re not then your target is Samardzija. Price is older, his velocity is down, he has more miles on the arm and his aura will inflate his price. On top of that extending him is a 175M deal. Shard is so far a 3 worth about 3 wins but has shown a willingness to extend for 6@105. To grab him will take a package like Bowden suggested but I think I’d suggest Hale, Bethancourt, Gosselin for Shark.

      They like Barney at 2nd but he can’t hit a lick. Gosselin is redundant to our needs and is tearing up AAA. Bethancourt is a 2 win defensive catcher and the prize. Gattis is the Braves catcher for the foreseeable future and Bethancourt’s bat won;t supplant that. Keeping him on the bench as a backup wastes an asset. backup catchers are pretty available. We can’t keep him at Gwinnett forever and this is his sixth year. Gattis cannot play left field or right field, Freddie is at first; one of the two is a trade chip. Gattis bat wins Bethancourt goes.

      Hale is a major league ready arm they can slip into the rotation this year. That’s a fair value but probably won’t be enough with all the competition so it might have to be Sims, Bethanclourt, Pereza, Even then the Cubs might get a better offer.
      I am happy with the rotation if we can get the lineup right and would probably try to pry Soria and Rios from Texas, insert Rios in right Heyward in center and Soria in the pen, Hitting Rios 1, Tommy 2 Freddie 3 Gattis 4, Heyward 5 JUP 6 CJ 7 and Simba 8.

      So we’ll probably end up with Edwin @#$%^&*() Jackson

      • BJ

        I’ll take Edwin Jackson. It’s another arm. But fireboss where is bj and uggs at in this scenario? And what would you make of the rotation for next year with shark. Hale. Woody. Would wren really trade sims? The braves top prospect

        • fireboss

          Edwin Jackson is an undependable pitcher making $11M a year who’s pitching to a 5.12 ERA and about 1.5 WHIP. He’s better than that but not much, 4.00 ERA and 1.4ish WHIP and walks can be a problem. I’d rather use Hale who will pitch to about those numbers for less.
          BJ and Uggs are bench warmers. he Cubs have no use for either though if you gave them all the money
          they would take him the DFA I suppose like Cleveland did Lowe. Wren won’t DFA Uggs, he wants a trade and no one wants him; ego in the way of logic. BJ is the same thing really. He would trade him if anyone wanted him but no one does without at least 75% or more of his contract too.
          If the trade for Shark goes through You’d see Teheran, Shark Minor Santana, Wood.
          Would Wren trade Sims? He might. The thing to remember about prospects is that their use to a club can come in many ways. Sims is in High A and struggling but still rated so his market value is higher than his numbers show. If he progresses normally he’s 2+ years away. A lot can happen on in two + years good an bad. In the Shark trade scenario – and I like him wanted him before the season started – you sign and extend 6 @ 105. Your rotation looks like Teheran , Shark, Minor (is there’s money left to extend him which is unlikely) or Wood and two from Northcraft, Graham (who I think is a reliever eventually) Hursh, or a veteran signing. If Minor can’t be extended you shop him for an every day player and a prospect.

          • BJ

            Fire boss. Look at this. Braves are in a good position and bad one. You wouldn’t take Edwin to at least move one of your bad contracts??? Of course. Plus it’s an extra arm. I still don’t think braves will get shark after the cubs asked for jhey or jup. Only way is giving up sims and CB. Christian B. The good is financial space will be available in a few years due to uggs. Jhey. Minor coming off the books. Bad part. Only starting rotation next year is minor. Wood. And Julio. So what do you do??? Can you count on triple A pitchers?? Do you extend minor and jhey? Do you trade for shark in a low rated farm system? Also fire boss I would trade for matt Kemp. LA wants out that contract. Switch it for BJ. And just keep uggs on bench so his money comes off the books.

          • fireboss

            Trades have to be seen as beneficial for both teams so when you propose a trade your first question should be If I was the other team why would I make this trade? So let’s look at your proposals or at least what i think your proposals are.
            Kemp for BJ
            I’d swap BJ for Kemp too but the Dodgers have five outfielders now with
            Ethier, Puig, Crawford, Joc Pederson and Kemp. All are better than BJ.
            Why would they trade? No.
            BJ and/ or Uggs to the Cubs for almost anyone.
            The Cubs current 2B – Barney – is a gold glove defender who costs the cubs $2/3M
            this year. In 2013 his slash was .208/.266/.303. Dan Uggla is a
            concrete gloved defender whose 2013 slash was .179/.309/.362 and cost
            about 6.5M the remainder of this year and $13M next. If you’re the Cubs
            why trade for Uggla?
            Their CF – Bonifacio ($2.5M this year) – hit .285/.352/.348 in 2013 and plays solid defense. BJ hit .184/.268/.289 and so far this year .205/.276/.332 and plays
            center about the same an Bonifacio but costs $7.5M or so this year and a
            commitment of $15M for the next 3 years. Why would they trade for BJ?
            Trade for Jackson.
            If I could dump Uggla or BJ for Edwin Jackson I’d do that simply because pitching is always needed and i could flip him but why would the Cubs do that? Uggla and BJ are of no use and they can trade Jackson for better players that cost less and don’t clog their system.
            Neither the Cubs or anyone else thinking logically wants a long term $13M 200 hitter with awful defense or a $15M 220 hitter who strikes out 170 times a year; that kind of player is available for a lot less in almost any farm system. Wren has to hope for a desperate owner/GM combo like Arte Moreno when he traded for Wells but those are fewer and farther between when cost is high.
            Is just replacing Hale with Jackson -ignoring what’s traded – a n improvement? Jackson is 30 with career 4.50 ERA – 41.9 FIP – 1.443 WHIP and owed 5.5M this year and 11M for the next 2 years
            Hale so far has a 3.17 ERA. 4.26 FIP (his FIP is clouded by two bad relief outings) and a 1.345 WHIP again mostly about a couple fo bad relief innings, his starer WHIP is 1.195.He earns the league minimum. Nothing is gained by doing that whereas Shark is a number 1 Jackson in a 4 or 5 on a good staff.
            Staring next year with Teheran, Minor, Wood, Hale and Northcraft – or perhaps a FA signing from this list http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/02/2015-mlb-free-agents.html – is fine with me. If they decide to move for Shark then he replaces Hale next season and should be extended.
            Extensions
            The Braves won’t be able to extend Jason unless he has sub par years. He has his sights set on bigger contracts than the Braves can offer or he’d be extended already.
            I’d have already extended Minor but Minor appears to feel that the Braves under value his contributions. He has openly said things that make me think he wants to move on and the Braves failure to extend one of the best pitchers in baseball since July 2012 supports that theory.
            The only way we move BJ or Uggla is to take most of their salary and get a low level prospect we can quietly release in order to move the player to a team that will DFA him for us or package him in a deal for a player the other team really wants – like Jason or potentially Minor along with the salary – for a player we’d take for the current player plus a throw in we can release later. It’s much simpler to DFA Uggla and let BJ ride the bench as a defensive replacement. Whether the GM decides to do that or not is the question.