The Atlanta Braves and the Kansas City Royals have matched up for several deals over time -- from Kyle Davies to Jeff Francoeur. The obvious connection is that the Royals general manager Dayton Moore was employed for several years as a scout and eventual assistant GM with the Braves, so it's no surprise that they could even team up again. Thus, in our efforts to help out the Royals by playing Pretend GM, we wonder if it's a possibility to go after a pitcher like Kris Medlen.
Currently the Braves are dealing from a position of strength. The amount of staring pitching on the Braves is enviable to say the least, with only the Tampa Bay Rays enjoying such an impressive ensemble. The Royals were already rumored in trade discussions surrounding Jair Jurrjens, but that's only the beginning. Even after trading Derek Lowe, the Royals still have Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Randall Delgado, Arodys Vizcaino and Julio Teheran. That's eight possible starting options.
Of course, they're not all starting quality -- at least not yet. One or two of the youngsters might be sent to the bullpen (i.e. Vizcaino). They young guys are also unproven. Jurrjens has had some health concerns. So it's possible the Braves might want to hold onto all of their arms. In that case, that still leaves one player available in Kris Medlen.
Medlen currently plays the role of spot starter or long reliever quite well. He's a versatile player who the Braves can count on in a pinch and that provides strong value. But it's also true he's expendable given the current state of the team. And perhaps that's where the Royals could strike to find another solid starting option.
While it's not the anchor for the front of the rotation that many want, including Moore, it's also true the Royals lack back-end options as well. Medlen has enjoyed a nice start to his major league career and has shown he's a consistent arm -- something the Royals clearly lack. Last year, Medlen pitched 14 starts and 31 overall games for 107+ total innings. He had a 3.68 ERA and kept the WHIP at a nice 1.20 total. He struggles a bit in giving up the long ball, but given his ability to keep hitters off of the base paths with respectable strikeout totals, Medlen provides nice value at only 26-years-old.
Medlen is also still recovering from Tommy John surgery from August of 2010, a surgery that usually takes 12 to 18 months to come back from. That means the best of Medlen is yet to come. If he's an extra for the Braves, it might not take as much in the way of prospects as some other pitchers who would provide the same results. Certainly it warrants a look or listen on the part of both sides.