Posted: 12:35 pm Monday, March 10th, 2014

Braves’ rotation can’t afford Medlen’s loss (Update: Beachy hurt) 

By Jeff Schultz

Kris Medlen

The Braves are hoping Kris Medlen’s forearm strain isn’t a sign of something worse. (AP photo)

(This blog will be updated after the results of Kris Medlen’s MRI are announced, probably later today.)

There is nothing the Braves could have done this offseason to prevent pitcher Kris Medlen from grabbing his forearm and walking off the mound Sunday with a potentially serious injury. The question now is whether they’re going to pay a price for doing nothing to strengthen their starting rotation and cushion the blow for a potential loss when some believed they needed to make a move regardless.

Medlen is hurt. We’ll probably find out later today just how hurt he is. But as a general rule when a starting pitcher, let alone one who’s already come back from Tommy John surgery, exits a game the way Medlen did in a spring start Sunday, it’s not good. He was scheduled to have an MRI Monday, and the Braves’ obvious hope is that the words “ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction” aren’t necessary on the news release.

Even if the injury is not as bad as feared and he doesn’t need surgery, there’s a decent chance he’ll be out while. That’s a problem because he was expected to be the Braves’ opening day starter, and he’s the closest thing they have to a No. 1 starter right now.

There’s a chance Mike Minor might also miss a couple of starts when the season opens after developing shoulder soreness (from trying to catch up after offseason urinary tract surgery). Where would Medlen’s absence this leave the Braves rotation? Probably with a top three of Julio Teheran (23 years old), Brandon Beachy (five starts in 2013) and either Alex Wood (23) or Freddy Garcia (37).

UPDATE: Brandon Beachy left after only two innings of his start against Philadelphia on Monday in Clearwater, Fla. Via David O’Brien: Beachy exited after feeling tightness in his lower biceps and throwing only 14 strikes in 37 pitches.

“I’ve seen the doctor; my ligament is fine.The biceps is a little too tight. It’s difficult to describe. When I went down in 2012 it was a stabbing sensation. Last year it was a fullness in the joint and (discomfort) shooting out all over.”

Asked if he thought he would be ready when the season opens in three weeks, he said, “We’ll see. We’ll see how it recovers.”

There’s already speculation (mostly by fans) about the Braves making a run at free agent pitcher Ervin Santana (who’s already rejected reported one-year, $14 million offers from Toronto and Baltimore).

But let’s be serious: The Braves chose not to spend any money in the winter. They’ve opened the vault to sign five members of their young core — Teheran, Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons and Heyward — to extensions. But there’s probably no money left to bring in somebody from the outside now, and there’s no reason to believe the organization will change course in philosophy since they didn’t show any desire to spend in the winter.

Bottom line: The team likely would try to get by with Teheran, Beachy, Wood, Garcia, David Hale and Gavin Floyd and see how the first two months of the season go before deciding what to do. Either way, losing Medlen would be a major hit.

Recent ramblings on Braves …
– MyAJC ($): McDowell has been guide for Braves’ young pitchers
– Blog: Braves’ Medlen to shave head for charity
–MyAJC ($) Can Teheran, young rotation carry Braves?
– MyAJC ($): Jason Heyward’s time as a Brave could be nearing end
– Blog: Kimbrel gets new deal — and closer’s value should be obvious
– Blog: Poll time: Can Braves’ Uggla or Upton turn it around? (vote)
– MyAJC ($): Dan Uggla: ‘I was a mess’ last season
– MyAJC ($): Braves about to find out if no move was right move
Recent ramblings on other stuff…
– MyAJC ($): Gregory says Tech needs to be tougher next season
– MyAJC) ($): Nobody’s laughing at Ron Hunter, Georgia State now
– Blog: Denver to cut Champ Bailey, should Falcons cut him?
– MyAJC ($): Any use of ‘N’ word by athletes disrespects history
– Blog: Will a Georgia school get NCAA bid? Here are odds
– MyAJC ($): Hawks’ season unravels — does anybody care?
– Blog: Inaction shows Hawks care more about future than current collapse
– MyAJC ($): Georgia on the right side of drug issue
– MyAJC ($): Mark Fox deserves to return for Georgia
50 comments
phillies80-08
phillies80-08

MY PHILLIES MIGHT BE PURSUADED TO GIVE BRAVES  CLIFF LEE , RYAN HOWARD,  FOR  JUSTN UPTON,  FREEMAN AND  MINOR       

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

a train wreck and I told you , this team would not win 85 where is the idiot that told me 2 months ago he would take that bet , to bad I didn't remember his name on here the braves are trying to live on there reputation of the nineties , there are other pitchers out there older ones that you can get to help you through july , if theoffense can score an average of 8 runs a game , it will work out , GO BRAVES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, YOU DO NOT NEED SANTANA . AND GIVE UP THE DRAFT PICK .

FarTrain
FarTrain

Same song, different verse.  The Braves go through this same crap every year either at the end of spring training or just as the season starts, yet they never have a back-up plan or go out and get some insurance. Braves management is reactive and not proactive.  Guess all those Braves fans(and you know who you are) that were living in the land of sunshine and rainbows with anticipation,  are now "dipping in the moonshine" and living in stormy weather without a roof.  One of these days you will learn, like I did, and switch to another team that actually has a chance at going to the WS.

slydawg
slydawg

Someone in the front office pulled a Dimitroff: Roster arrogance.... Instead of trading one of these MASH unit members for David Price AND paying him, the team chose to dig in, spend $280 mil on not getting any better. Now you're stuck with retreading someone else's garbage off the scrap heap.

Boxtradamus
Boxtradamus

Whats wrong Stinga, skeered of the truth???

Stinger2
Stinger2

Boxtradamus: Go to timeout until you have something nice to say.

Boxtradamus
Boxtradamus

Give Uggla some phony steroids so he thinks he is back on the juice like when he was a Fish, that placebo will work and watch the hits start!

Boxtradamus
Boxtradamus

Any hope Freddi Gonzalez could get a season ending injury? That would be great!!!

TideDawg
TideDawg

Looks like we're going to see some new pitchers in town. The Braves just went from what would have been a good staff to a crippled staff. Minor, Beachy, and now Medlen all go down with arm problems. Who does that leave? Garcia, Teheran, Wood, and 2  pitchers to be named later. Will Wren panic and give up the talent in the minors to rent a starter for one year? I'd throw 2 of those young arms in the game and say "Go get em kids, your future is now"

Stinger2
Stinger2

Typically, a lot of people are jumping the gun a predicting doomsday before they have any facts about the

injuries to Medlen and Beachy.

TideDawg
TideDawg

How could the Braves expect Uggla to hit when he can't reach a pitch on the outer third of the plate. He has a physical problem. His arms are so short and bulky that he has to lunge across the plate to reach a pitch on the outer third of the plate. Don't scoff at that statement....just watch him try to hit. He can hit pitches on the inner half of the plate but what pitcher in his right mind would pitch him in there(except the minor leaguers in spring training)

Fradycat
Fradycat

Its the jinx... go "County Burbs!"

Birdhair
Birdhair

Schultz has completely shifted all blame for our failures to Liberty Media for not providing the Braves with more money to spend. I have a few questions for Schultz (will prob hide the answers on myajc pay site where nobody reads the articles anyway)


Does Wren spend the money that he's given wisely? No. See KK, Lowe, B.J. Upton, Uggla. He just overspent big on Freeman and Simmons too. This guy ruined the Orioles in only one season by spending millions and millions on Albert Belle and Mike Timlin. Now, he's wasting away hundreds of millions and you blame Liberty? 


Would you give more money to someone who has proven incompetent and unable to spend money wisely? 


it's unfortunate that so many of the bloggers go along with what the AJC has to say. It's sad. No critical thinking involved.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

The Braves can survive a starter, any starter, doing a stint on the DL. If Medlen is down for an extended period that will hurt, no question. I mean, he's a potential 20-game winner, and might have been last year with better run support.

Don't panic. The Braves need to reserve assets for the impending demise of a certain outfielder with a large contract.

58Supersports
58Supersports

Games lost  the first two months are just as  important as games lost the last two months...... Best get a fast start and the its "still early" is just BS.  This team has a lot of "ifs" on their staff and it don't look good. Braves have money that's not the problem.....you know the problem.

harworkinman
harworkinman

Can we wait for the MRI results before we declare doomsday? It might actually just be a forearm strain.

michaeltheamerican
michaeltheamerican

I've said it for months. Frank Wren is one of the worst GM's in baseball. After what happened in the playoffs against LAD... for us not to go out and try to get a REAL ace for this ballclub.... I just get the sense that the front office isn't really trying to put together a winner right now.

ShaunATL
ShaunATL

At most losing Medlen for the season would maybe cost the Braves 2 wins.  Not insignificant but they could survive and still contend for the division title.

BeastOPS
BeastOPS

Huge loss to an overrated player = minor loss.

BusinessMan
BusinessMan

The cost of doing nothing is 12-15 wins. There goes the post season.

Bogey
Bogey

Hate to be pessimistic but I think this is the end for Meds (and not just for this year- how many guys have successfully come back from 2TJ's??  remember, he's expected to be our ace).


I've been pushing for the Braves to go after an ace all offseason - they can't afford to play with the big boys for FA's,so it'll have to be the trade route.  It would take a big package, but I think Atlanta could put together the pieces to convince the Chisox to trade Chris Sale.  We have 3 or 4 highly touted young pitchers coming up (Hale, Cabrera, Hursh, Sims, Graham....) that could be packaged up with Gattis or even Chris Johnson to pull this off.  Bethancourt will be our catcher for yrs to come, so Gattis doesn't have a place here anyway.


If Chicago needs a bigger name to justify the trade, then I would offer up Heyward and 1of the young pitchers.  JH is going to hold out for top FA $ anyway regardless of his #'s, and some big market team might just hit the mark. 


I could definitely live with a staff of Sale, Teheran, Minor, Beachy, Wood....



CowbellHell
CowbellHell

" there’s no reason to believe the organization will change course in philosophy since they didn’t show any desire to spend in the winter."


That was before the day 1 starter possibly goes down for the season...I say they might just sign another pitcher if he's out for the season.  That being said I still think our talented young pitching staff could absorb this loss and do great things..a la the St. Louis Cardinals.

Da_Mick
Da_Mick

Jeeez, somebody finally mentions David Hale, even if only in passing.  How he is regarded reminds me of how the Braves organization basically ignored Chirs Medlen early on, despite his signifiant signs promise, mainly because they had their eyes on other pitchers as the guys.  Things don't always work out the way you plan, andI believe Hale wil prove to be our Medlen of the future.

Barves_Loss_Agian
Barves_Loss_Agian

Hes prolly fakin it just 2 get out off sprig trainin. He alwyas ben a shelfish palyer N E way. 

phillies80-08
phillies80-08

@Stinger2    AGREED    BRAVES SHOULD DO THIS  OFFER  FREEMAN, JUSTIN UPTON , AND MINOR  FOR  CLIFF LEE,   RYAN HOWARD, AND DOM BROWN

reckingball
reckingball

@TideDawg .......He can reach any pitch that is over the plate, the problem is, he tries to pull every pitch that he swings at ,to the left. That's  what I see when I watch him hit,.....I meant to say at the plate.

Rick_C
Rick_C

@Birdhair  lol, last season you complained that because of Wren's spending, we didn't have the money necessary to lock up some of our young talent.  Now they lock up some of that talent, and you complain that they overpaid.  You either have no grasp on reality as far as the price for players, or simply are out to hate every single thing Wren does.  Maybe both.

jeffreyd
jeffreyd

@Birdhair  Is there anything you don't arrogantly b*tch about? You sound miserable.


First, tell me how the KK and Lowe deals were bad using any measure but hindsight. Lowe had a low 3 ERA the previous season and KK had just won his league's MVP and Cy Young equivalent. The Braves were coming off a season when their rotation featured Buddy Carlyle, Jorge Campillo, and Mike Hampton.


And Uggla...Uggla was coming off a 33 HR, .280's average season when Wren traded for him. Who knew he'd faceplant this bad (besides you of course)?


I'll give you the Upton signing...that one stinks.


As for Wren's Baltimore days, Belle had an OPS of 1.055 and signed for only $1.something million more than his previous contract. And really...Mike Timlin? Part of your beef with Wren is that he paid $2.2 million for a decent reliever? That must've really crippled the O's.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@58Supersports

A lot of "ifs"? Care to elaborate? Beyond the general fact that EVERY pitcher is an "if" the Braves are certainly in the top-10 in the majors in being best stocked with young, capable arms.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@michaeltheamerican

"the front office isn't really trying to put together a winner right now"

Could that APPEAR to you to be the case . . . because . . . they won 96 games last season? You think, maybe? How about those Dodgers? They didn't win the NL pennant, either. Do they appear to be trying? Washington?

Baghead
Baghead

Unfortunately most Atlantans are too dumb to support this.  They effortlessly support anything and everything DOB, Schultz and Bradley write about the Braves.  Not once have they every criticized this organization.  At least not on a serious basis and held their own when management pressured them.  Bottom line, Frank Wren is one of the biggest POS GMs to ever work the game.  He's a straight up "my way or no way" kind of guy.  He's rude and has no time for due diligence.  He ruined the Baltimore Orioles before he was chased out of town in just one year.  Imagine the long term implications of what he's done to this organization in 7 years.  He's failed to win one single playoff series and has managed to completely decimate our farm system.  Ask any analyst.  We are depleted and salary heavy on garbage players.  Our drafts over the last several years are a mess; a complete joke.  2014 will be a long summer for Bravos.  Wren will also be responsible for changing the name.  Mark my word.  Braves will be gone in 2017.

michaeltheamerican
michaeltheamerican

@BeastOPS You don't understand this team. I agree that Medlen isn't a true ACE...been saying that for a long time. The problem is that if Medlen is out- Now who gets his 30 starts this year? Freddie Garcia? David Hale?  Medlen is far better than whoever is going to get his starts.

khd713
khd713

@Rick_C @Birdhair  Same comment as above. In baseball, money doesn't matter. You get who you need, and you pay whatever it takes. There's no salary cap, so who besides the owner cares? It's only money. Criticizing a baseball GM for spending too much is meaningless. In football, how much you spend is extremely important. In baseball, not so much.

Birdhair
Birdhair

@jeffreyd @Birdhair  JeffreyD, first, i suggest that you get your facts straight. Wren spent $16M on Timlin on a 4 year deal.$16M in 1999 is the equivalent to $22M today. That would be like giving $22M to someone like David Carpenter. 


KK had never thrown a pitch in MLB and he threw $23M at him. $23M from a middle market budget. Lowe was 35 years old and was showing signs of decline. Overpay.

58Supersports
58Supersports

@DawgDadII @58Supersports Medlen, Beachy,  Minor and Floyd plus couple of relief pitchers coming of surgery are all if's....Yes, best stocked but not proven. No real #1 or  #2 pitcher but a couple that could be but not yet.

khd713
khd713

@Birdhair @jeffreyd  In baseball, money doesn't matter. You get who you need, and you pay whatever it takes. There's no salary cap, so who besides the owner cares? It's only money. Criticizing a baseball GM for spending too much is meaningless. In football, how much you spend is extremely important. In baseball, not so much.

Rick_C
Rick_C

@Birdhair Absolutely laughable that you'd tell someone else to "get their facts straight."

Rick_C
Rick_C

@Birdhair @jeffreyd  Lowe was showing signs of decline?  In his prior four seasons to becoming a Brave, he pitched to a 3.59 ERA, averaging 213 innings with 1.230 WHIP and 141 SO.  His numbers in the fourth year?  3.24 ERA with 211 innings, 1.133 WHIP, and 147 SO.  You have absolutely zero clue.

jeffreyd
jeffreyd

@Birdhair @jeffreyd  I was talking about annual salary. And I contend that paying big money for pitching was a necessary evil. The Braves had no pitching. They weren't going to be able to match the Yankees for Sabbathia, so they went with Lowe and KK. The Braves won 14 more games between 2008 and 2009, so it couldn't have been the worst thing in the world.


All I'm trying to say is that everything isn't as black and white as you make it out to be.

zuzu331
zuzu331

@Tea-Party-Meber @scientist2@CowbellHellC'mon,fess up.This is JSSN,isnt it? Just mix all the bizarre syntax,do both idiotic personas at once and save time,'Dude'...SMDH at u dumyyz,Matt Ryan su*ks,Sam Baker su*ks,white people su*k,blah blah blahhh...'I keep trying to tell you people':Flacons in Superbowelllll!!!