The trade deadline is two weeks away, and no one really seems to know whether or not Julio Teheran will be traded. Braves GM John Coppolella has publicly said he won't trade him, but rival executives around the league aren't buying it.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote this in his weekly column on Sunday night, emphasis my own:
9. Julio Teheran is going to be made available by the Atlanta Braves. The executives' thinking: Why wouldn't he be? Teheran is pitching like a good No. 2 ... a year after he better resembled a middling No. 4. His contract is fine, but it's not exactly cheap: $26.3 million for three guaranteed years, plus a $12 million club option.
If the best argument the Braves can come up with for keeping Teheran is they wants to open their new stadium with him on the mound, they should trade him in the next two weeks. Teams in the midst of total teardowns simply cannot be concerned with optics. The truth is, winning brings back the fans that losing bleeds. The Astros' attendance is up to 28,000 after a nadir of just under 20,000. Kansas City once had trouble drawing 10,000 to Kauffman Stadium. Today, it regularly exceeds 30,000.
All the blather about opening day is lip service, and no executive is buying it. "I can get Teheran," said one GM looking for pitching. "It's just going to cost too much right now." And that may as well go for the rest of the market right now.
While I do disagree with Passan about Teheran's contract – that's a hell of a deal considering today's market, especially for a mid-market team – he makes a fair point about opening the 2017 season. Fans want to win, and no one will really care in the long run if the Braves win with or without Teheran in their dugout.
The Braves are in an enviable position. They appear to be coming towards the final stages of their rebuild, and they have the best pitcher on the block. If someone blows them away, swing a deal. If not, hold onto Julio and evaluate your options in the winter. It's a win-win situation for a team that's done a lot of losing the last two seasons. The next two weeks should be fun.