Let me clear the air first…
- I am not panicking.
- Every year, news leaks about players and their health and most injuries or setbacks work themselves out before Opening Day.
Alright…now I’ll talk shop.
Hiccups in Braves Rotation
The rotation’s top 4 have been set for some time now. It’s a strong top 4 with Max Fried leading the way followed by Spencer Strider, Charlie Morton, and Kyle Wright. From there, there’s a collection of stout pitchers bidding for the 5th rotation spot in Michael Soroka, Ian Anderson, and Bryce Elder. Behind that group, you’ll find Darius Vines and Kolby Allard. And while it isn’t uncommon to hear about minor setbacks when players report to camp, there were 2 news drops that made this fan feel a little uneasy.
The Soroka thing we already knew and while a sore hammy isn’t anything to get worked up about…if that was all that Soroka was trying to come back from. However, tearing an achilles twice, recurring elbow issues, rebuilding mechanics, AND now adding a sore hamstring, all the while sitting out of baseball for the most part of 2 years, would make anyone skeptical about a return.
And while hearing the 2 words “forearm tightness” is likely the scariest thing to hear from a baseball beatwriter, hearing anything that discusses “shoulder inflammation” gives me PTSD from the Brandon Beachy era.
As with all, it’s my hope that both Soroka and Wright are able to stay healthy, grab a rotation spot, and kick some serious gluteus maximus in 2023, but now that a Huascar Ynoa or Tyler Matzek‘s roster spot can be up for grabs after AA sends them to the 60-day IL, will the Braves look to add depth to their starting pitching group? I doubt it, but we’ll take a look at starting pitching free agents left to determine the best fit.
Remaining Free Agent Starting Pitchers
*First off, we all know who’s the best pitcher in this group but there’s a reason why all 30 MLB teams are staying away from him. That’s all I’ll say about Mr. Bauer and I’d rather not discuss this in the comments.
Breakdown: This list contains some good names, but is full of poor results, bad shoulders, declining velos, and walk rates that are way too close to strikeout rates. For me, there’s only one choice to fill out the rotation, if filling out the rotation is truly needed, and that is Anibal Sanchez. He’ll be 39 in 2023, but he can still keep a team in the game and cover innings. Like everyone else, his K and BB rates are too close for comfort, but I’d take his veteran status at number 5 in the rotation over the others that might not even be able to throw 2 consecutive innings, much less 5.
So…Anibal? Will you take a split contract?