Jul 24, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson (15) is checked on by a trainer after being injured in a collision at first base with New York Mets left fielder Eric Young Jr. (not pictured) during the eighth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
It was announced earlier Thursday that Tim Hudson is done for the year with a broken ankle. This injury will take a big time toll on the Braves starting rotation and how Frank Wren will have to weigh his options in going forward (granted he has six count ’em six days before the trade deadline approaches.)
So where exactly does Frank Wren and the Braves go moving forward without Tim Hudson? It seemed like since the All-Star Break Hudson has pitched immensely better and it showed that he found his sinker in his last two starts before going down with his injury. But now that Hudson is gone, should the Braves rely on a young core of pitchers in the minor leagues to help them make it to October or should they shop around for a rental player? Let’s brainstorm together.
Ervin Santana: It won’t come cheap as the Royals will be looking to add some highly-touted prospects, but Santana could be a possibility, although the least likely in my opinion. Santana is 6-6 this season with a 3.06 ERA accompanied by a 1.08 WHIP and is averaging seven strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Again, not the most likely option, but at this point anything goes.
Bud Norris: Listen, I’m going to be completely honest–I like the nickname Bud. But that doesn’t mean anything. Norris would most likely be the cheapest route the Braves could take if they were to go after a pitcher in the trade market. Norris is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA and a WHIP of 1.41 while striking out 90 batters. Norris isn’t exactly going to get the Braves over the hump to the post season and wouldn’t exactly fill the shoes of Hudson, but he certainly could do enough to give the Braves the a good chance to win time in and time out.
Jake Peavy: If the Braves are looking for a Hudson-like veteran that could possibly come at a relatively reasonable price than Peavy is your guy. However, Peavy has an ERA of 4.19 with a WHIP of 1.16 and does have average around eight strike outs per nine innings. Peavy has given up 11 home runs, but Turner Field has larger gaps when compared to U.S. Cellular Field. The downside to Peavy is that he is owed $29.5 million over the next two years–which would be a problem considering they would only need him essentially as a rental player.
Promote From Within:
Brandon Beachy: Beachy is soon to come off his rehab stints which could lead him to being put into the starting rotation. If I were a betting man, this is probably what the Braves would do and that’s put him in the rotation. However, I am a bit sketched out about putting a guy fresh off of arm surgery into the rotation and expect him to help carry the load over the remainder of the season while being in the starting rotation. I will say the I would be more comfortable if the Braves put him in the bullpen and do what they did with Kris Medlen.
Alex Wood: This is the most unlikely event, but it’s at least worth mentioning. As of right now, Alex Wood is in the starting rotation for Paul Maholm who has a sprained wrist. The inexperience of Wood is what is holding me, and possibly others, from giving him the okay to put him in the starting rotation for the remainder of the year. If the Braves were to make the playoffs, I highly doubt Fredi Gonzalez would rely on Alex Wood, who was drafted just last year, to be there to make a start if the Braves needed it. So I’m just going to go ahead and cross this off the list.
These are just a few out of the hundreds of possibilities Frank Wren has to thing about (I’m sure it won’t be an easy decision to make). But first thing is first–the Braves need bullpen help before they can even begin to think about making moves to uphold their starting rotation. The next six days, possibly longer, will be a very interesting one to see how this will play out.