The slider stopped sliding last year. The fastball got a lot slower this summer. Without a heater, what’s left of Mike Foltynewicz, power pitcher? He’s not apt to re-invent himself as a nibbler, the way Teheran did. And in this two-month irregular season, the Braves’ patience isn’t without limits. Said Snitker: ”In the short season, it’s just not happening right now. And we kind of feel a sense of urgency.”
For Foltynewicz to remain a Brave, 29 teams would have to pass on acquiring a presumably healthy 28-year-old starter at the waiver price, and then he’d have to accept a minor-league assignment here. (This at a time when the minors aren’t playing.) After last year’s demotion and this year’s DFA’ing, it’s reasonable to assume he has had enough of the Braves, who’ve obviously seen too much of him. It is, we say again, weird.
Weirder still is that this comes at a time when the Braves are without Cole Hamels at least until September, without Felix Hernandez after his opt-out. Sean Newcomb, removed from last year’s rotation, had been designated the team’s No. 3 starter, ahead of Foltynewicz, but Newcomb didn’t make it through four innings Sunday, a night the Braves won 14-1 in New York. (He managed only one strikeout, which isn’t like him.)
Kyle Wright is scheduled to start tonight against Tampa Bay. He couldn’t hold a rotational spot last year, but he had a good summer camp – and, a while back, a nice spring. It wasn’t so long ago we were thinking the Braves had a surplus of starters, which only goes to show that nobody ever has a surplus of starters. The journeyman Jhoulys Chacin, signed a week ago for a second Braves stint, already is a big man on this campus.
Under Alex Anthopoulos, the Braves have become a measured team in their dealings. (The previous two general managers were, shall we say, less circumspect.) It’s no secret that the Braves grew frustrated by Foltynewicz; it’s shocking that – in a season that began four months late and has seen them play only four games – they’ve already given up on a guy who, as Snitker conceded, “has been a big part of this organization.”
The Braves wouldn’t have won the East in 2018 without him. They wouldn’t have won with such ease last year had he not returned from exile to go 4-1 with a 1.50 ERA in September. Apparently none of that matters now. Having decided they don’t know what to do with Foltynewicz, the Braves also decided they were tired of trying. Not much shocks me anymore. This, though, comes close.