On May 13th, Mike Minor underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum, and it’s been reported that he will miss the entire 2015 season. After an unimpressive 2014 campaign with a record of 6-12 with a 4.77 ERA, fans were already running out of patience with the 7th overall pick in 2009, (Just to tease you guys, Mike Trout was taken 25th overall that year). With a seemingly full rotation, does Minor have a place in Atlanta in the future?
Probably not. There’s a decent chance that Mike can go somewhere else in 2016 and put in a few good starts, plug a 4 or 5 spot in the rotation, and continue his career; but it will likely NOT be in Atlanta. The main reason that Minor will not be back in Atlanta won’t be because of the 12 losses or his ERA that’s pushing 5, it will be because he did something that hadn’t been done in Atlanta since 2001. He battled for arbitration. John Rocker did it in ’01, and nobody had done it since. Not only did he challenge, he won, and was awarded $5.6 Million for 2015. It’s safe to say he ruffled some feathers by taking all of that money and not even throwing an inning this year. If Mike Minor doesn’t return, Alex Wood will be the only lefty in the Braves rotation for 2016 if it remains the same after this year. Challenging the club combined with a lackluster 2014 campaign, and another injury, I’d say don’t expect Mike to take the mound for the Braves in 2016.
However, if for some reason the Braves do decide to extend him for another year (he is under team control until 2017), there are a few places that he could fit in. Mike Minor has slim to none chances of making the rotation unless he comes out and pitches a PHENOMENAL spring, or if the Braves want to build up his trade value. The Braves have a full rotation, with prospects Manny Banuelos and Matt Wisler on the cusp of being Major League ready. All of Atlanta’s options are cheaper and, well, better. The only place he may be able to fit in is as a long reliever, and we know that Minor will be opposed to the role and that Atlanta won’t pay a reliever that type of money. If Minor wants $5.6 Million again (which he will), I’d just show him the door. Trading him at the deadline would be an option as well, but with the plethora of injuries he has dealt with in recent memory, his market will be very underwhelming. I think there’s a large chance that Atlanta does not tender him a contract this offseason instead of battling for arbitration once again. However, if he is brought back and pitches well, he could be a nice trade piece at the deadline in 2016. With the injuries piling up and the relationship with the club going sour, I think it’s inevitable he is moved at some point in the foreseeable future, especially with the plethora of starting pitching options the club has to choose from. I think it’s more of a matter of when than if.