With few controllable starters available at the non-waiver trade deadline, teams have been reaching out to the Braves to gauge the availability of right-hander Julio Teheran, reports FanRag’s Jon Heyman. The Astros are one of multiple teams that has inquired, Heyman notes, and the Braves haven’t completely ruled out moving him prior to the deadline.
David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution adds more context to the story, noting that the Braves privately discussed the possibility of shopping Teheran this offseason, but were only going to put him on the market if they were able to land an arm such as Chris Sale, Chris Archer or Jose Quintana to take Teheran’s spot in the rotation. Atlanta was never able to pull off a trade for a front-line starter, and thus Teheran was retained to make the first start in the history of SunTrust Park.
That new park, of course, may have adversely impacted Teheran’s trade value. Atlanta’s new home has proven to be exceptionally hitter-friendly, and Teheran has been torched for a 7.58 ERA there, as compared to a 2.88 mark on the road. Of the 20 homers he’s yielded this year, 13 have come at home, despite the fact that he’s pitched four more innings on the road.
Attributing his struggles solely to the home park isn’t prudent, though, as Teheran has a 4.51 FIP and 4.49 xFIP away from SunTrust park, suggesting that much of that road split is a mirage. He’s seen his strikeout, walk and ground-ball rates all trend in the wrong direction this year, both at home and on the road. Teheran’s velocity has fallen a couple of miles per in recent years as well, and he’s currently sporting his worst swinging-strike and chase rates since 2012.
That said, it’s hard not to find Teheran’s contract highly appealing. He’s earning $6.3MM this season and is guaranteed $8MM in 2018 plus $11MM in 2019. The deal also carries a $12MM club option ($1MM buyout) for the 2020 season. All told, he’s guaranteed just $22.995MM through the end of the 2019 campaign (including the remainder of this year’s salary) and can be controlled through 2020 for $33.995MM. Even if Teheran is more of mid-rotation workhorse than a top-of-the-rotation arm, that’s a highly reasonable rate for a pitcher that has made at least 30 starts in each of the past four seasons with solid run-prevention numbers.