After losing Tim Hudson to a season ending ankle injury it seemed evident that the Atlanta Braves would make a serious effort to add a starting pitcher before the trade deadline passed. The Braves were linked briefly to Jake Peavy, who was dealt to Boston last night, and we heard some mild rumblings about their interest in Bud Norris, who’d ultimately be dealt to Baltimore just minutes before the deadline. Beyond that there weren’t many names tied to the Braves as possibilities and in the end they’d fail to make an acquisition to help bolster their starting rotation.
That’s not for a lack of effort, however.
The New York Post’s Joel Sherman learned from a source less than half hour before the 4:00 PM EST deadline that the Braves had reached out to the New York Yankees about right-hander Phil Hughes but a deal seemed unlikely between the two sides. Less than an hour later he relayed that their “interest was mild, anyway”.
The 27 year old Hughes has had a rough season for New York, one that might be solidifying that likely fact that he’ll be seeking employment elsewhere this coming offseason once he reaches free agency. Hughes is 4-9 with a 4.58 ERA and 1.339 WHIP over 112.0 IP (20 starts). His control issues have continued, as he’s always walked more batters than he should, and he’s been prone to giving up home runs – particularly at home at Yankee Stadium. Some have suggested that a change of scenery could ultimately benefit him.
It’s uncertain whether the two sides might have been able to work out a deal. We don’t know what New York was asking for from interested teams and we don’t know what the Braves might have been willing to part with had their interest in Hughes been stronger. Atlanta may have lost Hudson for the remainder of the season and Hughes may have helped strengthen their starting rotation, but the team is far from devoid of quality options to start games down the stretch as they try to win the NL East once again. Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Kris Medlan, and Paul Maholm have all already made 20+ starts for the team. Alex Wood presents another option and so too does Brandon Beachy, who’s just recently returned from the DL.
The Braves may have wanted to acquire another starter to help ensure that they can hold off the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals for the division crown, but they failed to do so. Just because they did, it doesn’t mean they don’t have the pitching depth to hold on.