Monday, December 8, 2014

Would Medlen or Beachy fit in Minnesota?

Late last week word came out that the Atlanta Braves would not tender contracts to right-handed pitchers Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy. At one point in the not so distant past both of these players figured into Atlanta's long-term starting rotation plans but now both are recovering from their second Tommy John surgeries.

Medlen has shown more promise than Beachy at the big league level. He won a combined 25 games in 2012 and 2013. He excelled as a reliever and starter in 2012, when he was 10-1 with a 1.56 ERA. He was even charged with starting the Braves Wild Card Game versus the Cardinals that season. He limited the Cards to two earned runs on three hits but five total runs were scored with him on the mound and he took the loss.

Beachy had his first Tommy John surgery in 2012 and he struggled on the comeback trail in 2013, when he was 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA. For his career, he's started 45 games with a 3.23 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP including a 9.2 SO/9 rate. These numbers look great but he's only pitched 30 innings since the end of the 2012 season.

Coming back from one Tommy John surgery can be hard enough so you can imagine how hard any kind of comeback after a second trip under the knife. The list of players to return to their prior level of dominance after a second Tommy John is essential nonexistent. Pitchers tend to struggle with command and stamina and this could force both of these players into a bullpen role.

Out of the two pitchers, Medlen seems to offer the most upside.

The Braves sound like they would like to bring Medlen back on a short-term incentive laden deal with an option for 2016. Minnesota would like have to come up with a better offer to lure him away from Atlanta. Other teams will probably make enticing offers as well and since Atlanta non-tendered him, he's free to choose where he will be employed for 2015.

Medlin will not be ready for the start of Spring Training since he had Tommy John surgery last March. However, he should be good to go shortly after the opening of camp. In recent memory, the Twins recently signed Mike Pelfrey on a one-year deal after coming off of Tommy John surgery but they failed to retain Scott Baker on his comeback trail.

Minnesota already has a crop of pitchers that will be battling for a back end of the rotation spot. Phil Hughes, Ricky Nolasco, and Kyle Gibson seemed locked into the first three slots. This leaves Trevor May Mike Pelfrey, Tommy Milone, Logan Darnell, and others fighting for the final two rotation spots.

Top prospects Alex Meyer and Jose Berrios are also in line to end up in the rotation at some point in 2015. If Medlen won't be ready for the season's start, he probably won't be getting back into form until the end of 2015 or the start of 2016. The Twins will have other younger pitchers ready at that point and Medlen might just be blocking their path.

If the deal was right, it might be interesting to take a flyer on Medlen. But it's hard to imagine the Twins outbidding other teams for the services of a player that is a questions mark at this point. A team can only have so many back of the rotation options so signing Medlen might not make sense.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Twins have become the Cubs of the North. Seeing what other teams in our division are doing and what we're not doing spells another long season for the Twins. The Chisox are signing young pitches with ERA under 3, and the Twins are signing 40 year outfielders. Our starting pitching is shaping up to be worse in division if not worse in league. Sure we will hit a ton, but it won't be enough to win consistantly. When will the Twins field some young home grown pitching talent that can dominate in this league. Aka Santana, Erickson, Liriano?