Looking to bring in some additional depth for their starting rotation, the Atlanta Braves have acquired right-hander Zach Stewart from the Chicago Whites Sox. Chicago will receive cash considerations in return, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
Stewart will presumably join the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the year, though that plan may change depending on the injury status of some of the team’s other starting options.
Over parts of the 2011 and 2012 seasons, Stewart has thrown 103.0 IP of work in the Major Leagues – pitching to an unimpressive 6.82 ERA and 1.650 WHIP. He’s made 33 appearances (including 14 starts) with for the Toronto Blue Jays, White Sox, and Boston Red Sox. His numbers in the minor leagues, however, have been more impressive but hardly overpowering. This past season he’d make 28 starts for Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate, posting a 4.25 ERA and 1.339 WHIP over 167.1 IP.
Stewart didn’t seem to figure into the rotation plans for the White Sox this coming season, presumably a factor that went into the team’s willingness to move him for cash. For Atlanta the move makes perfect sense.
Kris Medlen was forced to leave his start over the weekend with a strained right forearm, an injury that is still pending the results of an MRI exam which could further determine the extent of the injury. Atlanta also has some concerns about Mike Minor’s shoulder, which has left question marks about his availability for Opening Day (if you’re looking for Opening Day Braves tickets, look no further.) To further complicate things, Brandon Beachy only threw two innings in his latest spring start when he’d been scheduled to go for four.
The Braves have long had success in developing young pitching and appeared to head into camp with plenty of options in the mix. Stewart could simply turn out to be organizational depth in the long run and while his past performance has been generally unimpressive on the stat sheet, there’s enough intrigue to make this the fifth time that he’s been traded during his brief career. Perhaps the Braves might finally be able to unlock whatever potential he’s always had.