As the August 1 trade deadline approaches, more and more contending teams are looking for the final pieces to make a deep playoff run or even win the World Series. Every year, good starting pitching is a hot commodity, just look at last year. The Kansas City Royals acquired Johnny Cueto right before the trade deadline and he overcame a rough second half to pitch a complete game, two hit shutout in game two of the World Series. This year, one of the best pitchers on the market, if not the best pitcher on the market, is Atlanta Braves pitcher Julio Teheran.
Teheran is having one of the best seasons of his career. Already a previous All-Star, Teheran was selected to participate in his second All-Star game earlier this week. He has pitched his way to a 3-7 record with an ERA of 2.72, which is good for fourteenth in the majors. Teheran has been nothing short of dominant, which makes the fact that he is backed by the anemic Atlanta Braves offense, who is last in the entire MLB in runs scored, even more impressive. Teheran hasn’t posted an ERA above 3.20 in three of his four years in the majors. Also, he is under a very team friendly contract for the next six years. He is owed a little over three million dollars this year, which is incredibly cheap for a pitcher these days. Long story short, Teheran would be a huge boost to any team that is looking to make a playoff run.
However, there is a pretty big problem. Atlanta Braves General Manager John Coppolella has stated that Julio Teheran will not be traded. But should they trade him? He is the ace of their staff by a wide margin, and their rotation depth is being tested right now with injuries to Williams Perez and John Gant, as well as Bud Norris’ trade to the Dodgers. Currently their rotation consists of Teheran, Matt Wisler (who has an ERA of 4.47), Mike Foltynewicz (who is just coming back from injury), rookie Joel De La Cruz, and Lucas Harrell (who, before two weeks ago, hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2014). This is not a threatening rotation and if Teheran is traded away, is becomes possibly one of the worst in baseball.
Even though Coppolella has stated that Julio Teheran will not be traded, Braves fans just have to look back two years to find an eerily similar situation. The Braves stated that they would not trade Craig Kimbrel, yet they did that exact thing the night before opening day. Ultimately, the Braves will trade any player at any given point, especially if pitching prospects are involved.
There are definitely teams who could use Teheran to help further their postseason aspirations. One of these teams is the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox certainly need starting pitching help. Outside of David Price, Steven Wright, and Rick Porcello, their rotation is in shambles. Teheran would provide a huge boost to them that could carry them all the way to the World Series.
Reportedly, the Braves are asking a lot for Teheran and with great reason. He is their best pitcher, an NL All Star, and is in the top fifteen in MLB in ERA. This high price might scare away some buyers, but many teams have deep enough farm systems or are desperate enough to pay that price.
That being said, I don’t think the Braves should trade Julio Teheran. He is their best pitcher by a long shot, has a very team friendly contract, is under control for the next six years, which, going by the Braves rebuilding plan, would be around the time the Braves are competing in the World Series, and their rotation depth is already being tested. If Teheran was traded, the Braves would be even worse than they already are, and that is a very scary thought. Ultimately, it would take a trade like the Shelby Miller for Dansby Swanson, Aaron Blair, and Ender Inciarte trade from last year for me to trade Julio Teheran. But knowing the Braves, any team who offer at least two pitching prospects could have a very good shot to gain a very valuable pitcher.