The Braves had been internally debating for a while what to do when Brandon Beachy is activated from the disabled list. Would they use the 26-man rule to use him for Tuesday’s double-header against the Mets, and then figure it out in a week? Would they move Kris Medlen to the bullpen? Or attempt to trade either Tim Hudson or Paul Maholm? It is no longer an issue as Beachy has been scratched from that Tuesday start after a disappointing performance in his latest rehab start.
David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution described Beachy’s concerning performance:
Beachy struggled with his command in three innings for Triple-A Gwinnett Thursday night in Rochester, walking four and allowing three runs (two earned) while throwing only 38 strikes in 69 pitches.
The Braves had planned to back Beachy down Thursday night for the final scheduled outing of his minor league rehabilitation assignment, with a limit of 80-85 pitches. So the fact that he only threw 69 pitches over three innings wasn’t a big issue. But he pitched behind for much of the outing and needed 53 pitches to get through the first two innings.
Braves GM Frank Wren wouldn’t reveal the team’s plan for Tuesday’s double-header with the Mets now that Beachy is a no-go. O’Brien speculates reliever Alex Wood could fill in for a spot start, but Wren had previously said they wouldn’t let him get to 100 pitches, meaning it would be a taxing day for the bullpen.
Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has already made a pair of mistakes in left field and he’s only four innings into the first game of the best-of-five NLDS against the Dodgers.
Leading off the second inning, Justin Turner sent a well-struck liner to Cuddyer which was quite catchable, but the ball clanked off of the veteran’s glove. Turner was credited with a double. Mets starter Jacob deGrom was able to work around the misplay, striking out Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw to close out the frame.
With two outs in the third inning, Corey Seager sent a fly ball down the left field line. Cuddyer took an inefficient route and the ball bounced about a foot inside the foul line, then into the stands, giving Seager a ground-rule double. To add insult to injury, Cuddyer ended up tumbling over the fence. deGrom, again, worked around Cuddyer’s mistake, striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.
Because he bats right-handed, Cuddyer got the start in left field over the left-handed-hitting rookie Michael Conforto against Kershaw, a southpaw. Conforto mustered only a .481 OPS against lefties this season compared to Cuddyer’s .698. Despite the batting disparity, one wonders how short a leash manager Terry Collins has on Cuddyer given his defense.
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, belting a solo home run to right field at Dodger Stadium off of starter Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw threw a 2-0, 94 MPH fastball and Murphy didn’t miss it.
Both teams’ starters are pitching quite well overall. Kershaw has allowed the one run on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Jacob deGrom started off the game with six consecutive strikeouts and has struck out seven total while blanking the Dodgers on three hits and a walk in three innings.
Kershaw doesn’t have the most impressive post-season track record, owning a career 5.12 ERA across eight starts and three relief appearances spanning 51 innings. Aside from the homer, the lefty appears to be putting that notion aside.
Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal reports that the value of a qualifying offer for free agents this off-season has been set at $15.8 million. That represents an increase of a half-million dollars over last year’s value.
This is of particular interest with regards to the big-name free agents, including Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Yovani Gallardo, Jordan Zimmermann, and Jeff Samardzija.
Teams that make a qualifying offer to a player that ends up being rejected receive a compensation draft pick in the upcoming draft. The team that signs the player who rejected a qualifying offer gives up their earliest non-protected draft pick.
Free agents who had been traded mid-season aren’t eligible to receive a qualifying offer. This includes Yoenis Cespedes, David Price, Johnny Cueto, and Ben Zobrist, among others.
A player has yet to accept a qualifying offer since the QO system was implemented.