There’s no question that the Braves have a lot of talented arms in their organization. And most of those guys have enormous amounts of potential. Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran are all possible top of the rotation guys down the road. However at this very moment the only one who’s getting the job done at the big league level is Brandon Beachy. So although the rest of these guys have lots of potential, it’s not translating into a lot of quality starts right now.
This Braves team is very close to having a championship quality roster. They already have the 4th best offense in baseball so if the pitching staff can just pick it up a little bit then I believe this team can be very dangerous. So what’s the solution to the pitching dilemma? I think it may be Roy Oswalt.
Roy Oswalt is currently a free agent and available to be signed by any Major League team. He’s still a few weeks off from being ready but it’s still something we might want to be thinking about now.
Right now Roy Oswalt is 34 years old. He’ll be 35 in August. But to me his age doesn’t really mean a whole lot if you’re the Atlanta Braves. He’s still in his mid 30’s, he’s not 40 and with Derek Lowe gone the Braves could use another veteran presence in the rotation to compliment Tim Hudson.
Last year Oswalt went 9-10 with a 3.69era. Not great but solid. Although it was limited starts, in 2010 he went 7-1 with a 1.74era. So he is not that far removed from absolute brilliance. Can you imagine if the Braves plugged him into the rotation and he put up those types of numbers?
Oswalt’s career era is 3.21. He has made several post season starts which would be extremely valuable to the Braves as they certainly lack that valuable experience in October. Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy and Randall Delgado have combined for 1 post season start. So no matter where we turn there is going to be a lack of experience the second that Tim Hudson isn’t on the mound.
You of course have to consider the price. The price certainly needs to be right on a guy who is 34 going on 35 that is coming off an injury. But at the same time the Braves don’t need Oswalt to be a 1, 2 or really even a 3rd starter. Hudson, Beachy and Hanson fill out those roles nicely. We would just need him to comfortably fill the 4th or 5th spot in the rotation and hope that he can give us even more then we bargained for.
The Braves are World Series contender if they can get this pitching situation straightened out. An effective Roy Oswalt combined with a healthy Tim Hudson and young starters Beachy and Hanson could form an extremely dangerous rotation come October. One that mixes experience, youth and talent.
By: Bob McVinua