Atlanta Braves Blog

The Atlanta Braves blog by David O'Brien, baseball writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Teheran's on a roll, and targeted by teams for trade


The Boston Red Sox will be among several (or more) teams with scouts on hand tonight to see Julio Teheran face the Mets’ Jacob deGrom for the second time in seven days. Because even if Braves GM John Coppolella has said it would take a huge offer to pry Teheran in a trade and reiterated Thursday that he doesn’t think the pitcher will be dealt, teams aren’t giving up acquiring the best possibly available  pitcher on the market before the Aug. 1 non-waiver deadline.

Teheran is signed to a club-friendly contract through 2019, plus a $12 million club option for 2020 including a $1 million buyout. He’s owed only about $28 million over the next 3 ½ seasons, which, in today’s pitching market, makes him a huge bargain. For that reason, and the fact he’s only 25 and seems to be improving, I don’t see how trading Teheran would make the Braves better, unless they were to get back a bounty beginning with, but not limited to, a young, impactful major league hitter – not a prospect but an actual major leaguer.

Really, unless you can fill a couple of positions with young talent in a deal, trading Teheran, with that contract and the fact that the Braves don’t have any other young pitchers who are established and ready, for sure, to head up the rotation going into the new ballpark in 2017, and you don’t want to rely on a still-developing kid or a journeyman-type veteran to lead the rotation.

And since the Braves have made it clear they don’t plan to acquiring frontline starting pitching through free agency – and who can blame them, given the size of contracts in recent years and the percentage of those deals that work out favorably for teams? – then it makes more sense to keep Teheran, at least for another year until one or two of the young pitchers has clearly turned a corner and become a consistent, gives-you-a-chance-to-win-every-time type of top-half-of-rotation starter.

Remember, he's signed to a club-friendly deal for 3 1/2 more seasons, really 4 1/2 considering that also-club-friendly option should he continue pitching at a high level. Did we mention Teheran's 0.91 WHIP (walks-plus-hits per inning pitched) is second among major league starters this season? Behind only Clayton Kershaw and ahead of freakin' Jake Arrieta (0.98) among many others definitely not available in trade.

So anyway, tonight is a rematch of Sunday’s game at New York, where Teheran was nearly perfect in a one-hit, complete-game shutout with no walks and seven strikeouts. It was a masterful pitching performance for the Colombian, who continues doing his thing, start after start, whether he gets run support or not. He got a rare abundance of it in Sunday’s 6-0 win.

Teheran is 3-5 with a 1.89 ERA and .168 opponents’ average in his past 12 starts, with 78 strikeouts and 16 walks in 81 innings. He’s allowed three runs or fewer in every start during that span including one or no earned runs in seven starts, but he’s received just 2.89 support runs per nine innings pitched.

For the season, he has the third-lowest run support (2.94) among major league starters, a hair better than teammate Matt Wisler (2.91).

Teheran is 1-6 in 10 night games despite a 2.80 ERA and 58 strikeouts with 18 walks in 61 innings. (He’s 2-1 with a 2.43 ERA in five day games, with 34 strikeouts and six walks in 37 innings.)

Hard to believe, but Teheran is still looking for his first win this season at Turner Field, where he’s 0-4 despite a 3.28 ERA and .218 opponents’ average in eight starts with 47 strikeouts  and 16 walks in 46 2/3 innings. In seven road starts, he’s 3-3 with a 2.10 ERA, a puny .149 opponents’ average and 45 strikeouts with only eight walks in 51 1/3 innings.

This is crazy: During Teheeran’s great 21-start run since Sept. 1 – 2.36 ERA, .192 opponents’ average, two earned runs or fewer allowed in 16 of 21 games – he has recorded just one win in 11 home starts. He’s 1-4 with a 2.70 ERA and .214 opponents’ average in 11 home starts in that span, with 68 strikeouts and 22 walks in 66 2/3 innings, and he allowed more than three earned runs just once in those 11 games.

The Braves scored two runs or fewer while Teheran was in 10 of those 11 home starts, and scored three runs while he was in the other. Wins and losses for pitchers, folks. They are a completely unreliable measure of performance. But worth noting, because pitchers still get measured by them in the view of some award voters, and it’s still nice to take those wins to the bargaining table.

The Mets have seen about enough of Teheran, I reckon. After getting roughed up by them in a 2011 relief appearance during his first callup, Teheran is 5-3 with a 2.30 ERA in 10 starts against the Mets since the beginning of the 2013 season, including 4-2 with a 1.82 ERA and .131 opponents’ average in his past six starts against them.

Jacob deGrom is 0-4 with a 3.58 ERA and .244 opponents’ average in his past nine starts, with 57 strikeouts, 14 walks in 55 1/3 innings. In Sunday’s loss to Teheran at New York, deGrom gave up five hits, three runs and a homer in six innings.

Nick Markakis is 4-for-12 with a homer against deGrom, Freddie Freeman is 4-for-16 with a homer, Jace Peterson is 3-for-11 and A.J. Pierzynski is 0-for-9.

DeGrom is winless (0-3) in five night games despite a 3.19 ERA and 31 strikeouts with five walks in 31 innings.

• Etc.

Braves rookie starter Aaron Blair, after giving up eight runs in 4 1/3 innings in Friday’s loss, has a 10.22 ERA and .329 opponents’ average in his past eight starts, with almost as many walks (20) as strikeouts (24) in 34 1/3 innings, and eight homers allowed in that span. He was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday and lefty reliever Matt Marksberry was recalled.

James Loney, who doubled and homered off Blair on Friday, is 7-for-15 (.467) in five games against the Braves this season with three doubles, a triple, a homer, four walks, a .600 OBP and 1.000 slugging percentage.

The Cure played 31 songs in an epic, four-encore concert Friday night in Atlanta, including this one,  from the great The Head On The Door album.

"PUSH" by The Cure

Push him away

No no no

Don't let him stay He gets inside to stare at her

The seeping mouth

The mouth that knows

The secret you

Always you

A smile to hide the fear away

Oh smear this man across the walls

Like strawberries and cream

Its the only way to be Exactly the same clean room

Exactly the same clean bed

But I've stayed away too long this time

And I've got too big to fit this time...




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About the Author

David O'Brien has covered the Atlanta Braves for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution since 2002.