Unfortunately for the Atlanta Braves, starting pitcher Tim Hudson has been lost for the season after an unlucky injury sustained while covering first base. The Braves do have pitching depth throughout their organization, but the number of big-league ready arms they have at their disposal remains a mystery. With the Braves in position to make a deep run in the playoffs, time is ticking for the team to make a move to fill the vacancy left by Hudson’s injury. Enter the Minnesota Twins.
The Twins are currently on the outside looking in for the playoff picture and it doesn’t appear as if they are in any position to make a move and get back into the playoff hunt. With that in mind, the Twins have been looked to as a team that may be willing to part with some of their pitchers on their staff, in particular Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey and even Vance Worley. Worley is currently on the disabled list so you can effectively cross him off the list as a possible trade candidate, but Correia and Pelfrey remain in play and could both be had at a minimal price.
When the Twins signed Correia and Pelfrey, they were looked to as stop-gap pitchers who could hopefully pitch well, eat innings and generate enough value that they could be traded at the deadline for future prospects. While Correia has had a solid start to the season and a recent surge of good performances, Pelfrey has been less consistent. Pelfrey has pitched better over the last month in change, which has helped his tradability immensely, but I would bet that teams are more interested in Correia than they are Pelfrey.
Entering play Thursday night, Correia sports a 7-6 record with a 4.17 ERA, 1.363 WHIP and 1.0 WAR in 116.2 innings over 19 starts. Pelfrey, on the other hand, sports a 4-8 record with a 5.15 ERA, 1.505 WHIP and a -0.2 WAR in 94.1 innings over 18 starts. Both of these pitchers’ stats are not overwhelming and they both could easily be had for a low-level prospect with medium upside. Another likely scenario could see teams wait until after the deadline and acquire either of the pitchers through a waiver deal.
The Braves simply need a competent arm for the back-end of their rotation for the remainder of the season and the Twins currently have two available to deal. The Braves wouldn’t have to give up much and the Twins could acquire a prospect that, if things go well, could end up helping them somewhere down the line. The likelihood of the prospect being a huge contributor is minimal, but the Twins are in a position to take a chance on a high-upside prospect who has fallen out of favor, for whatever reason, with an organization because neither pitcher figures into their long-term plans and it’s better to get some value out of the player while you can.
As the Braves continue to look for potential trade partners at the deadline, don’t be surprised if the Twins are one of the first teams they call. While it may not be the most splashy of deals if Pelfrey or Correia are acquired, it may be the trade the Braves could use most due in large part to the value they would add for the value they would trade away.