With the 2016 All-Star Game now a thing of the past, trade rumors are surely to pick up with the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline rapidly approaching. They presumably figure to involve Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran.
The 25-year-old right-hander is under contract through the 2019 season on a relatively team-friendly deal and is part of a Braves club that owns the Majors’ worst record at 31-58. While many expect Atlanta to become sellers at the deadline, acquiring Teheran likely would come at a significant cost.
It was previously reported the Los Angeles Dodgers have Teheran among their top targets. Although president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has yet to swing a significant midseason trade during his young tenure in Los Angeles, he said the club was going to key in on ‘elite-level players.’
In similar fashion to Cincinnati Reds left fielder Jay Bruce, Teheran spoke fondly of potentially being traded to the Dodgers this season, via Andy McCullough of the LA Times:
“If it’s the Dodgers, that’s a great team that has the possibility of playing in the postseason,” Teheran said on Monday, a day before turning in a scoreless inning against the American League. “That’s the goal of every player, to be in the postseason. If I get traded there, I will do whatever I can to get them to the postseason.”
Teheran in February 2014 agreed to a six-year, $32.4 million extension that includes a $12 million team option for 2020. This season he’s 3-8 with a 2.96 ERA, 3.91 FIP and 0.97 WHIP over 18 starts.
Teheran’s 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings are his best mark since averaging 8.2 in 2013, which was his first full season in the Majors. What’s more, Teheran’s 22.8 strikeout percentage would set a career high.
The Dodgers’ need for starting pitching has recently subsided with Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu returning from the disabled list, and their five-player trade with Atlanta for Bud Norris. In addition, Brett Anderson and Alex Wood may both join the rotation come August.
That being said, acquiring a pitcher of Teheran’s caliber would be a difficult opportunity to pass over, with the primary question being at what cost.