Sure, in his last time out Mike Foltynewicz got rocked. But casting out a playoff-tested starter with an All-Star game nod under his belt seems wasteful.
In a world of long home runs and even longer innings (at least if Shohei Ohtani is on the mound), starting pitching is really at an almost unheard of premium. That’s why I was so surprised when the Atlanta Braves cut ties with Mike Foltynewicz after just one short-season start. It was not a good start by any stretch, as he allowed six runs over 3.1 innings, and the heater was notably lacking in velocity. But this just is not the time to completely abandon ship with a pitcher that has been around the big league club for parts of the past six seasons.
The 6’4 righthander is just a few months away from turning 29 years old, and he’s cleared waivers and is safely stashed in the Braves’ minor league system. Next season will be his final year of arbitration before he hits the free-agent market heading into the 2022 season.
Folty, a former-first-round pick of the Houston Astros, has both the pedigree and the resumé to entice an MLB club to take a chance, especially if his price has plummeted to where no team even took a shot on him in waivers.
Any deal for the hapless and homer-prone hurler will likely involve a low prospect cost and maybe some cash for the surging Braves. Because of his likely low-cost, any big league club that wants to take a shot reasonably could do so.
In no particular order, I’ll run through a few of the best fits for Folty based on their potential to compete in the next two years, their need for starting pitching, and the hitting environment (at least season) that they’d be throwing him in to in terms of schedule. Not all of these teams are contenders, and though this may run at odds with the views of some, the league’s bottomfeeders deserve some love too, and if they can regain Folty’s top form, they will not hesitate to take that risk, especially in an expanded 2020 playoff conversation.
Let’s get started…