Saturday, February 21, 2015

Did the Braves Waste a Chance with Beachy?

Brandon Beachy finally found a home for the 2015 season, signing a one year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers that will pay the former Braves righty $2.75M in 2015. Also included is an one-year option for between $3M and $6M depending on the amount of innings Beachy is able to pitch this season. He's not expected to be ready by April, but should be back on the mound at some point this year.

Some Braves fans are still sore about this. Do they have a point?

Well, here's one thing...Beachy got more from the Dodgers than the Braves probably would have paid him in 2015. Beachy earned $1.45M in the first year as an arbitration-eligible pitcher last season. Considering he missed all of the season, chances are he wouldn't received much of a raise. MLB Trade Rumors projected he would make about $1.5M, which even if you believe that's a bit of a conservative estimate, it's a nice floor from which to work with. I'd guess he'd settle under $2M - maybe something like $1.75M - and that would be a million less than the Dodgers gave him. If successful in 2015, he wouldn't have earned much more than the option year the Dodgers gave him and if he got hurt again, the Braves could non-tender him after 2015.

So, again, did the Braves made a mistake here?

Well, that depends entirely on what their medical team was saying. On one hand, you might argue that they felt his elbow was shot. It's a perfectly reasonable assumption considering he just went through his second Tommy John, has an ugly delivery, and has yet to eclipse 150 innings in a season. Why even take a $2M chance on Beachy? After all, the Braves should have a pretty good rotation anyway and a lot of young arms coming.

The one flaw to the first point about the Braves feeling his arm wasn't worth a gamble is that it doesn't seem like it's based in reality.  If you believe, as Mark Bowman told us in the MLB Trade Rumor link, the Braves were interested in retaining Beachy's services, why would they want him back if his elbow is shot? Did the Braves want Beachy back at an even lower rate than he was projected to receive in arbitration? Did they want him to agree to non-guaranteed money? Or did they not want to find a spot in their rotation at some point in 2015 for him? Did the Braves try a Kris Medlen contract and suggest big 2015 money with low money on an option for 2016?

Or, and this is my guess, did the Braves move on after Beachy declined an offer earlier this offseason? Maybe the Braves did offer something like $1.5M with incentives for 2015 and Beachy, thinking he could get more, said "thanks, but I'm keeping my options open." In the mean time, the Braves moved on with veteran fill-ins like Eric Stults and Wandy Rodriguez, plus competitive youngsters like Manny Banuelos and Michael Foltynewicz. Even if Beachy was still interested, the offer may have been rescinded and the Braves had closed the book.

Either way, on the surface, the Braves look bad. There is almost no way Beachy gets his Dodger money in arbitration. But maybe $1.5M was still too rich for the Braves to feel comfortable in committing to Beachy.

Ultimately, I doubt the Braves will really miss Beachy. They have options coming up through the minors and without a reworked delivery, the chances Beachy stays healthy for long are slim in my opinion. Still...you can never have enough pitching, right?

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