Braves now in pursuit of a front-line starting pitcher
Since losing Tim Hudson to a season-ending ankle injury on Wednesday night, the Braves have widened their focus on the trade market. While enhancing the bullpen’s depth, preferably with a left-handed reliever, still appears to be the priority, the club is now looking at the possibility of acquiring a front-line starting pitcher to fill Hudson’s void.
Braves general manager Frank Wren and his scouts will spend the next few days evaluating the small group of available starting pitchers who could legitimately upgrade the rotation. Instead of pursuing a middle-of the-rotation piece like Bud Norris, the club’s interest in this department is focused on the likes of Jake Peavy and Ervin Santana.
The Braves had a scout present to watch Peavy throw 118 pitches and complete seven innings against the Tigers on Thursday. This outing seemed to diminish any fears about the lingering effects of the fractured right rib that sidelined the White Sox right-hander from June 5-July 20.
Peavy is owed $4.8 million for the remainder of this year. The 32-year-old Alabama native’s contract also includes a $14.5 million salary for 2014 and a $15 million vesting player option for 2015. All indications are that the Braves are financially in position to make this deal.
While trading Santana would diminish the odds of the Royals achieving their goal of recording a winning season, the club understands the future benefits that could be realized by trading the 30-year-old right-hander, who will be a free agent at the end of the season.
While the Braves do not seem to have any interest in Yovani Gallardo, they might ask the Brewers about Kyle Lohse, who has compiled a 2.49 ERA in the 11 starts he has made since the end of May.
- Mark Bowman