If the league-leading Atlanta Braves have any vulnerability throughout their roster (Checking notes… still own the best record in the majors!), it would be the lack of flexibility and depth in the bullpen.
The front office, led by Alex Anthopoulos, didn’t wait until the hoopla of the MLB trade deadline to make a move; they brought in an MLBbro lefty for the stretch run right now, making a deal to acquire versatile hurler Taylor Hearn from the Texas Rangers for cash considerations earlier this week.
This trade could be a beneficial situation for both sides.
Pros For Atlanta:
- The Braves obtain a durable left-handed pitcher that is capable of going four to five innings in a relief or starting role.
- Hearn’s contract is financially friendly for the Braves. Even though our MLBbro will get some opportunities on the mound, this is a low risk-high reward situation with the option of sending Hearn to Triple A Gwinnett.
- The Braves can also keep him through arbitration next season.
- The coaching staff has time to develop an arm that is fresh. Hearn fell out of Texas’ rotation after pitching just seven innings in four appearances. In 2022, he pitched 100 innings and 104.1 in 2021.
Pros For Taylor Hearn:
A change of scenery can resurrect a career and our MLBbro has a golden opportunity to audition for a role with what is considered one of the top pitching staffs in MLB.
Atlanta Braves Facing Injuries In The Bullpen
The Atlanta Braves probably will be one of the few teams to punch their ticket to the postseason early, while others will be scratching for wildcard spots in the month of September. With the Braves sitting on top of the baseball world with a 64-36 record (as of July 28), it would be easy for the team to rest on their laurels and focus on keeping their players, particularly those arms on the pitching staff, off the IL.
The injuries have been piling up and that’s not a good sign, because in baseball the team that is most healthy come October, usually prevails.
Check out some of the Atlanta relievers that are currently on the 60-day IL…
- Nick Anderson out with a right shoulder strain.
- Dylan Lee on the shelf with left shoulder inflammation.
- Jesse Chavez is suffering from a bruised left shin.
- A.J. Minter is dealing with his own bout of shoulder inflammation; however, he’s scheduled for a minor-league rehab assignment.
Hearn Allows Braves To Rest Other Arms If They Clinch Early
With Atlanta having a double-digit game lead over second-place Philadelphia Phillies, Hearn has time to find his rhythm while not being in a pressure cooker environment to make the playoffs. If our Hearn can put together a string of impressive performances, it would bode well for a future with one of the 30 MLB teams.
In addition to Taylor Hearn's power arm and ability to go multiple innings or even start, the fact that he has options was crucial for the #Braves, who needed another lefty with roster flexibility given the injuries and out-of-options status of others on their staff.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) July 24, 2023
Before being designated for assignment on July 19th, Hearn was optioned to Triple A Round Rock on April 13th. In 24 outings, including two starts, Hearn had a solid 2-2 record with a 3.66 ERA. He was used in starter and reliever roles during his tenure with the Rangers. But taking a closer look at our MLBbro’s success on the mound, his efforts as a reliever are much better.
According to Darragh McDonald of MLB Trade Rumors notes, Hearn’s ERA as a reliever stands at 3.94. As a starter, it skyrockets to 6.36. He leaves Texas with a 12-15 record and a 5.11 ERA in five seasons after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher Keone Kela.