Brandon Beachy made his first rehab start at Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday, and is on track to join the Braves rotation in the middle of June. Beachy gave up two runs on four hits in his first appearance against live competition, and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was pleased with his performance.
When Beachy comes back, the Braves will have six starters, and it will be very interesting to see what move or moves the Braves make to accommodate everyone.
With rookie Julio Teheran pitching extremely well his last half-dozen starts, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that Teheran will be sent down to Gwinnett, when Beachy comes off the disabled list.
So who will be the odd man out in the Braves rotation and what will they do with him?
Paul Maholm’s contract expires after the season, and he will be looking for a multi-year deal in the $10 to $12 million range. It is highly unlikely that the Atlanta Braves can resign Maholm due to financial constraints. So a Maholm trade is a real possibility.
But the Braves aren’t going to give a valuable commodity like Paul Maholm away cheap, and solid trades don’t just materialize out of thin air.
So why not have Paul Maholm shore up the injury depleted bullpen?
With left-handed relieving stalwarts Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty having undergone Tommy John surgery, the Braves are short two left-handed arms in the bullpen. There aren’t any strong solutions at Triple-A Gwinnett, either.
Maholm to the bullpen makes sense, although selling the bullpen to Paul Maholm and his agent would most likely be a challenge. It would be a risky move for a pure lefty starter in his contract year to assume bullpen duty.
If the Braves were a middle of the pack team, it is doubtful that Paul Maholm and his agent would buy into bullpen duty. But with a team like the Braves looking like they have a legitimate chance to advance deep into the playoffs, it could happen.