The Braves suffered a tough blow on Wednesday night when starting pitcher Tim Hudson was injured while covering first base.
Hudson fractured his ankle on the play, per the team’s official Twitter account:
Atlanta already needed a bit of rotation help, and I recently wrote how it would make sense for the organization to make a deal that included White Sox starter Jake Peavy. With Hudson now out for the remainder of the season, the Braves really need to add a starter, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
Until Paul Maholm and Brandon Beachy come off the disabled list, the Braves only have four starting pitchers. One of them, Alex Wood, has one major league start on his resume entering Thursday. Atlanta has to find a way to replace Hudson in the coming days, or the team’s lead in the NL East could start to dwindle.
Knobler believes that Peavy makes the most sense—and it’s tough to disagree with that—and names Yovani Gallardo, Bud Norris and Ervin Santana as other potential Hudson replacements. If the Braves can’t work out a deal for Peavy, Norris would arguably be the best fit for the team.
Norris is probably going to cost the least of the four starters mentioned by Knobler, and he still has the potential to pitch just as well as any of them. Through 21 starts this season for the Astros, the right-hander is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA in 126 innings of work. He also averages 6.43 strikeouts and 3.07 walks per nine innings.
It will definitely be tough to replace Hudson, but that’s what the Braves now have to do before Major League Baseball’s July 31 trade deadline comes and goes.
While Atlanta ponders what it should do, here’s a look at some of the other rumors surrounding deals that could go down before next Wednesday afternoon.
Peavy Deal Could Involve Middlebrooks
Boston is one of the potential destinations for Peavy, and if the Red Sox do acquire him, there’s a chance that Will Middlebrooks could be a part of the deal. Scott Merkin of MLB.com reports that the young third baseman has been in trade discussions between the two clubs, with Peavy headlining the talks.
The Red Sox are currently seeking replacements for Clay Buchholz. He hasn’t pitched since June 8 and doesn’t have a timetable for a return, per Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston.
Peavy wouldn’t be a bad choice, and it would be good for Boston to get rid of Middlebrooks. The third baseman really struggled in his second year with the club, and was hitting .192/.228/.389 through 53 games before getting sent to Triple-A. With Pawtucket, he’s hitting .263/.315/.458 in 29 games.
The Red Sox would be fine without Middlebrooks in the organization. Jose Iglesias has done a good job taking over at third base, and while he’s only hitting .217/.267/.232 in July, Boston has other internal options who could play the hot corner in the future.
Middlebrooks is no longer the guy.
Chicago doesn’t have many talented third basemen in its organization and could definitely use someone like Middlebrooks, who has been bad but still has the potential to turn things around. The White Sox have been using Conor Gillaspie and Jeff Keppinger at third base for the bulk of the 2013 season.
There would probably be more players involved in a deal that would send Peavy to Boston and Middlebrooks to Chicago, but by the looks of things, it’s a good deal for both of the organizations. The Red Sox get the starting pitcher that they desperately need, and the White Sox get a much-needed third baseman.
Santana On the Trade Block
A lot has changed in the last few days for the Royals, and Ervin Santana may now be with another team by the time August is here. A couple of days ago, Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star reported that there were no indications that Kansas City was going to deal Santana elsewhere.
Now, Santana is being made available, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports:
Dutton confirms Rosenthal’s report, and adds that the price tag to acquire Santana is going to be steep. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, though. The righty has been one of the team’s top starters this season. Through 20 starts, he’s 6-6 with a 3.06 ERA. He’s averaging 6.96 strikeouts and just 1.95 walks per nine innings of work.
Santana’s stock has increased over the last few months considering how much better he’s been in 2013 compared to 2012. Last season, he went 9-13 and posted a 5.16 ERA in 30 starts for the Angels. It was the second-highest single-season ERA of his career and the third time that it’s been higher than 5.00.
Now that the Royals are willing to make a deal that includes Santana, the front office should be expecting many calls in the coming days. Rosenthal noted that his availability "changes [the] market for starting pitching." He’s now arguably the best starter on the trade block, aside from Peavy.
Santana is a top-of-the-rotation veteran who could certainly aid a team’s chances of making the postseason this year.
He’s only under contract for the remainder of the season, so some teams may be reluctant to give up a lot of young talent, but he’d be worth the price down the stretch and in the playoffs.
All statistics in this article were obtained via FanGraphs unless otherwise noted and are current through July 24. All contract information was obtained via Cot’s Contracts, and all injury information was obtained via Baseball Prospectus.