There’s a big decision for the Atlanta Braves to make as the trade deadline approaches: Hold on to Julio Teheran, or trade him? Of all the pitching-needy teams around major league baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox probably have the best shot at landing him.
The 25-year old Teheran, from Cartagena in Colombia, has been named to his second All-Star game in three years. He is one of the very few bright spots in the Braves rebuilding phase, with a 2.96 ERA through 118.2 innings. He has a career best 0.969 WHIP, striking out 8.1 batters per nine innings, and boasting an excellent 4.28 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Even his batting isn’t too bad, with a .207 this season, picking up a couple of RBIs in his 29 at bats.
The Braves have Teheran on contract through the 2019 season. He’s owed only $3.3 million this season, which jumps to $6.3 million in 2017, $8 million in 2018 and $11 million in 2019. There’s a $12 million team option in 2020 with a $1 million buyout. It’s safe to say that if things keep going like this for Teheran, he stands to be grossly underpaid in the next few years, but his ability along with his contract make him such an attractive trade asset.
The Braves are going to ask for a lot in order to move Teheran, not being in any kind of rush to trade him. The Red Sox and Dodgers combine the need for someone to fill in number two or three in their rotation, while having a very deep farm system that gives them the pieces to complete a deal.
The Red Sox have been in the hunt for the 1st place in the AL East thanks to their hitting, not their abysmal starting pitching. Even David Price on the top of the rotation has a 4.64 ERA, and is having his worst season statistically since 2009. The shortlist of Yoan Moncada, Andrew Bennintendi, Rafael Devers, and Anderson Espinoza seems to be good enough to get Teheran moving, but Moncada is one of those projected five-tool prospects that the Red Sox probably don’t want to let go of, which means, perhaps, a huge chunk of prospects that’s going to be difficult moving.
The Dodgers are in the same place, especially with Clayton Kershaw still injured. He’s the only Dodgers starting pitcher with an ERA that’s lower than 3.07, and only two players are better than 3.99. With Alex Wood also injured, the Dodgers just might go ahead and try to pry a deal out of the Braves by using Julio Urias, Jose De Leon, and Frankie Montas. However, just like the Red Sox situation, it’s going to be difficult meeting the Braves price, when it’s quite clear they’re going to be demanding a king’s ransom for Teheran.