Kansas City Royals: Julio Teheran Trade Target

Apr 25, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran (49) pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 25, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran (49) pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas City Royals need starting pitcher. The Atlanta Braves aren’t good, with a record of 16 and 41. They need to make moves to help the team for the future. Julio Teheran could be on the move. Could the Royals get him?

The Kansas City Royals window of success is still open. It might not be open too much longer. Now is the time to make another push towards the playoffs and a possible run back to the World Series.

The Royals need help if the team wants to get back to the pinnacle of the baseball world for the third straight year. Kansas City needs starting pitching, better outfield players and depth at second base.

The Kansas City Royals can address some of these matters through trades. I think Julio Teheran is the guy to target for a few reasons. The Kansas City Royals have connections with the Atlanta Braves. Manager Ned Yost and General Manager Dayton Moore came to Kansas City from the Braves organization. The two organizations have made trades before.

Last season, the Braves traded Jonny Gomes to the Royals for minor league prospect, Luis Valenzuela.

The Royals have a few former Braves on the current team. Mike Minor and Kris Medlen pitched for the Braves a few seasons ago. The connection the two teams have my play a big role if Kansas City has a chance to trade for Teheran at a decent price.

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Julio Teheran has great numbers for Atlanta this season. Through 74 innings, he’s got a 2.92 earned run average (ERA). He’s struck out 69 batters while walking 22 in 12 games pitched. The only number that could be trouble is home runs; he’s allowed ten so far this year.

Oddly enough, three home runs came during his last start against the Los Angeles Dodgers. All three were solo home runs.

Teheran uses four pitches: fastball, slider, curveball and a change-up, according to FanGraphs. His fastball speed has declined 2.8 MPH from 93 to 90.2 MPH. He takes off 19 MPH on the curveball (71.1) and 8.0 MPH on the change-up (82.3). With this kind of arsenal of pitches, there’s no wonder why he’s got 69 strikeouts so far this year.

Teheran is an inning eater as well. The last two seasons he has pitched more than 200 innings each season. The Royals need another innings eater to save the back end of the bullpen. Kansas City also needs starters who can pitch past the sixth innings to get to the back end of the bullpen more consistently.

Six of the 12 starts, Teheran has pitched seven or more innings. If the Royals had that kind of start from a starter, they could rest one of the big three, Hochevar, Herrera or Davis.

The Royals would have to part with some players. The good news is Kansas City has some depth. The outfield is somewhat overcrowded. Kansas City also has infield depth. Unfortunately, the Royals don’t have pitching depth due to the Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist trades last season.

Kansas City has dealt with a few injuries. Cheslor Cuthbert got hit by an errant ball throw from second baseman, Jonathan Schoop on Monday night. Cuthbert suffered a bruised right elbow on the play. Thankfully, Cuthbert is okay.

He played Tuesday night without much of a problem. The Royals once again avoided another long term injury. This could be important for a possible trade.

Hunter Dozier has come on strong this season. The third baseman’s slash line is .282/.301/.482 for the Omaha Storm Chasers. He has five home runs and seven double. He might be a piece the Royals could use, but they probably will keep him due to the injuries at third base.

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If the Royals trade an outfielder or an infielder, the team won’t be in too much trouble. Whit Merrifield can play outfield and infield giving the team flexibility.

An outfielder the Royals could trade is Jorge Bonifacio.  He’s slashing .310/.376/.563 for the Omaha Storm Chasers. Unfortunately, his home vs. away splits are staggering. He’s got a .359/.413/.695 at home through 32 games and a .232/.319/.354 on the road.

All of this home runs (10) came at home this season. Maybe the overall numbers will surprise a team, and they will take a risk on him.

A pitcher the Royals could trade is Kyle Zimmer. The guy can not stay healthy. He’s got great stuff, but he can’t use it since his arms always fatigued. Last year he pitched only 64 innings for Lexington and Northwest Arkansas. If the Royals are willing to include him in a trade for Teheran, the Braves might have more interest.

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It’s time for the Royals to push for a difference making starting pitcher. They will have to give up some young talent to acquire a guy like Julio Teheran, but they should be able to make a deal with friendly Atlanta. Now the Royals should go get an ace and compete for the rest of the season.