Could the Minnesota Twins make a trade for Atlanta Braves young starter Julio Teheran? What would it cost?
This trade season, the Minnesota Twins are in a conundrum. The team is in contention via its record, and certainly to appease fans, the team wouldn’t want to throw in the white flag until it was certain that there was no chance to make the postseason. However, the Twins are also in the midst of a rebuilding process that they do not want to upset in order to acquire a short-term piece for a run this season.
We at Puckett’s Pond will be looking at a number of the trade candidates that the Minnesota Twins may be pursuing over the next few weeks ahead of the July 31st trade deadline. Today’s highlight will feature a guy that has been in the Twins’ cross hairs before.
Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Teheran has been on the Twins’ radar before. When the Twins were looking to move Denard Span after the 2012 season, they inquired about Teheran, who was then a top prospect with the Braves, but he was coming off of a less than impressive season in AAA, where he struggled to a 5.08 ERA over 131 innings.
Teheran was originally signed by the Braves out of Columbia in 2007 as a 16 year-old. He had developed into one of the top prospects in the entire game, ranked as high as the #5 prospect in the game by Baseball America.
Coming into 2017, if the Twins would have had a chance at Julio Teheran for anything less than giving up most of the best pieces of the system, they would have been overjoyed. In his first four seasons as a starter, Teheran had posted a 3.33 ERA and 1.15 WHIP while averaging 32 starts and 199 innings per season as a very durable starter, averaging a 52/174 BB/K ratio per season.
Teheran’s 2017 season has put some questions into his true trade value, as he’s posted a 4.79 ERA and 1.38 WHIP over 18 starts and 103 1/3 innings. His walk rate, typically around 5.5-6%, has been up to ~9% this season. His strikeout rate, typically in the 20-22% range, has been down to ~17% this year.
The crazy part is that Teheran has definitely struggled in the Atlanta Braves new home field, SunTrust Park. Check out his home/away splits (9 starts each) –
IP: Home – 46 1/3 (a little more than 5 per start), Away – 57 (6 1/3 per start)
ERA: Home – 7.58, Away – 2.53
WHIP: Home – 1.64, Away – 1.18
HR allowed: Home – 13, Away – 7
Walk Rate: Home – 9.3%, Away – 8.5%
Strikeout Rate: Home – 15%, Away – 18.4%
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Why the Twins would be interested
Teheran’s shown himself to be a durable starter that may not be an ace-level dominant starter, but he’s a perfect #2/#3 starter that eats up innings with quality performance, and his road numbers show he’s able to still put up those quality innings.
Perhaps the most desirable part of acquiring Teheran would be his contract. He’s making just $6.3M this season and is under contract through 2019 with an option for 2020 with only $20M guaranteed over that time. Even picking up the 2020 option only brings the cost up to $31M, an incredibly cheap rate for a mid-rotation starter.
He’s also 26, which means even if his option was picked up, he will be just 29 when his contract is complete, so the Twins would be getting a pitcher in his 20s, not in years that he could be in decline.
Many in the offseason compared recently-traded Jose Quintana and Julio Teheran. They have remarkably similar career ratios, and interestingly have both had rough seasons this year as well. Both are also under contract going forward with the biggest value for Quintana being that he throws with his left hand.
That means that it likely would take a hair under the package sent to the White Sox to secure Teheran. That could be quite costly to the Twins, as it’d mean something like Fernando Romero, Mitch Garver, and then a pair of upside guys like Akil Baddoo, Tyler Wells, Brusdar Graterol, Aaron Whitefield, or Griffin Jax.
What do you think about this type of deal? Would you want to bring in Teheran to secure the rotation? Would you prefer to trade a different package of players to make it happen if so? Comment below!!