The Braves very well could be done in free agency. They’ve already shattered the previous record when it comes to their Opening Day payroll, and the roster is already ultra-talented. But if there is a hole on this team, even if it’s minuscule, it’s at the back-end of the rotation. The Braves have several young arms they could decide to trust, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if they added a veteran to the mix on a short-term deal just in case. Here are three names that fit that bill:
Cueto never lived up to the lofty contract he signed with the Giants because of injuries. At 36-years-old, there’s no reason to expect him to ever be an All-Star caliber pitcher again. Good thing the Braves don’t need that. All Atlanta should be looking for is an innings eater they can trust, and Cueto showed last season he can be that guy, posting a 4.08 ERA over 122.1 innings. I don’t see why the Braves wouldn’t be interested if he were willing to sign a one-year contract for nothing more than a couple million.
Happ was pretty miserable last season with the Twins, but things took a considerable turn for the better after he was traded to St. Louis. For the Cardinals, he posted a respectable 4.00 ERA over his last 11 starts and was a key piece to their incredible turnaround that resulted in an appearance in the Wild Card game. Happ will be 39-years-old next season, so expecting anything more than serviceable pitching is far-fetched, but he’s shown he can do that pretty well over the last few seasons. He’s worth a look on a veteran minimum type contract.
I talked about this the other day, but why shouldn’t the Braves take an extended look at Julio Teheran and sign him to a minor-league pact. His velocity was up when he threw for teams last week, he had his best years in Atlanta, and this team needs to add some veteran competition to the mix. At the very least, the Braves stash him in the minors as organizational depth. You never know, perhaps a reunion could do Teheran wonders, and the Braves would be the ultimate benefactor.