UPDATE: The Braves have announced that Wood’s plans are slightly different than originally perceived, as he will return to the rotation for a start next Saturday. Frankly, this decision is slightly baffling, but take what you will.
#Braves essentially skipping Wood this time through. He will start at the Cardinals next Saturday. Will be available from pen thru Wednesday
— Kevin McAlpin (@KevinMcAlpin) May 9, 2014
The Atlanta Braves have six starting pitchers. Normally, this is a “good problem” for any Major League Baseball team, but in this case and with Aaron Harang likely pitching over his head a bit, Fredi Gonzalez and company were charged with an interesting decision. On Friday, news broke that they have settled on Gavin Floyd staying in the rotation with Alex Wood moving to the bullpen.
In addition to the report from David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he also released the thoughts of Wood on his “demotion” to the bullpen.
To be honest, I dislike this move on the surface. The 23-year-old Wood has arguably the most dynamic repertoire of offerings in the entire rotation, and while the reasoning behind the move makes some sense due to a perceived limitation on his innings, it is almost never the correct choice to yank an impact pitcher from role to role.
As for Floyd, the 31-year-old was very good (7 innings, 1 ER, 5 K’s) in his first outing, which basically assured his rotation spot. Given the choice between Wood and the already-regressing Aaron Harang, the decision seems to be a simple one, but with the apparent need for “bullpen help” (which I disagree with, on principle) and organizational concern about giving Wood too many innings, this is where we are.
There is certainly a scenario in which this is the best move for all parties, and that would end with Wood returning to the rotation at a later date with his innings at a more “manageable” number. However, anything short of that result would be less than optimal, and all eyes will be on this situation until he plays itself out in the long term.
Stay tuned for the latest.