Earlier this offseason, the Braves had 15 players on their 40-man roster who were eligible to file for free agency or otherwise may not have returned to the team, if their club options were declined. Of those 15 players:
- Brian McCann retired;
- Darren O’Day, Chris Martin, Tyler Flowers (option), and Nick Markakis (option) were re-signed;
- The remaining 10, including free agent market hot commodity Josh Donaldson, have yet to sign with a team.
But, that all may be changing, as longtime Brave Julio Teheran appears to be very close to finding a home for 2020:
Right-hander Julio Teheran and the Los Angeles Angels are in agreement on a one-year contract, a source familiar with the deal tells ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 19, 2019
This sort of thing generally suggests an imminent deal, but there may still be some hurdles to clear:
The Angels are working to finish a deal with right-hander Julio Teheran, but no deal is done yet. @JeffPassan first reported the talks between the two sides.— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) December 19, 2019
UPDATE: The deal is for $9 million, as reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
In any case, this appears to seriously portend the end of Teheran’s time in Atlanta. While the Braves declined his $12 million option for the 2020 season, paying Teheran a $1 million buyout instead, there was always the possibility they would bring him back for a lower guarantee. This possibility now appears to be seriously dwindling, though it was never particularly prominent, and took a hit after the Braves committed $18 million to Cole Hamels on a one-year deal. It appears that no team wanted Teheran at the value of his option, and he’ll have to settle for a pay cut from the $11.2 million he made as a Brave in 2019.
The 28-year-old right-hander will wrap up his first tenure in Atlanta with 1,360 regular-season innings pitched across 226 starts and three relief appearances. Formerly a top prospect, Teheran was generally reliable and productive during his first four years in the majors (during which he signed a six-year extension for $32 million after his first full season), but faltered considerably in 2017 and then again in 2018. While he bounced back somewhat in 2019, his peripherals were likely a source of discomfort for the Braves, who declined to carry him on the playoff roster and only added him back after Chris Martin suffered an injury. Teheran’s Atlanta tenure therefore ends on a somewhat ignominious note, as he allowed the Cardinals to walk off on him during the Braves’ loss in Game 4 of the NLDS.
For the first time in seven years, the Braves will deploy a non-Teheran starter on Opening Day. It remains to be seen whether Teheran will keep his own personal streak alive, as he looks to join a very muddled Anaheim rotation that consists of new acquisition Dylan Bundy, Griffin Canning, Andrew Heaney, and the very fun Shohei Ohtani. Reclamation projects in the pitching department haven’t paid off for the Angels in very recent history (Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill combined in -0.8 fWAR in fewer than 120 innings last year, helping the Angels finish dead last rotation-wise in the majors), but Teheran should at least get plenty of run support with Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon batting for his club. He also reunites with former Brave Andrelton Simmons and his sterling defense.
Stay tuned for more, including financial details on Teheran’s pact and what will likely be at least one retrospective here on Talking Chop.