Longtime Mets foe Julio Teheran is an option to replace Zack Wheeler
By Tim Boyle
Former Atlanta Braves starter Julio Teheran has punished the New York Mets for the last several seasons. Now a free agent, he’s someone who could help fill the void left by Zack Wheeler.
For the last few seasons, Julio Teheran has been a member of the Atlanta Braves. The team decided to non-tender him this winter, making the longtime New York Mets killer a free agent. With a rotation opening now that Zack Wheeler is a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets have a chance to add a sports-vengeful player to their roster.
Sports vengeance doesn’t always work out as theatrical as we would like it to. There’s no guarantee Teheran would have any extra juice against the Braves. I’m sure if we looked deep in the history of baseball, more often than not a team’s former player often struggles versus his ex.
One thing we do know is how well Teheran has performed against the Mets. In 28 starts and a relief appearance, he’s 10-9 with a 2.98 ERA. His Citi Field numbers are even better. Through 14 starts he’s 6-3 with a 2.40 ERA.
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Of course, plenty of this occurred years ago when Teheran was a better pitcher than he is today. The Mets also didn’t put together the best lineups in his first two seasons back in 2013 and 2014.
Since becoming a full-time player in 2013, Teheran has always made at least 30 starts. The results include a 3.64 ERA and a 76-72 record. The only major blip on the radar occurred in 2017 when he gave the Braves an uncharacteristically poor 4.49 ERA. His 4.04 ERA in 2015 is the only other season where he exited the 3.00s.
There are reasons to be cautious about Teheran. In each of the past two seasons, he averaged 4.3 walks per nine. This elevated total is certainly concerning for a guy who has averaged three over his career.
Next season will be Teheran’s age 29 campaign which puts him in a position to potentially accept a one-year pact so he can then turn around and get a better deal after a good season. However, we shouldn’t expect it to be anything team-friendly. Teheran may no longer be the pitcher he was in his early 20s. Still, he’s a darn good impact player the Mets and everyone else with a rotation opening should highly consider.
Best of all, the Mets would have a chance to take something away from the other National League East teams. Along with the Braves, you would think the Phillies may have an interest. Depending on what happens with Stephen Strasburg, the Washington Nationals could also have a spot available for Teheran.
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The Mets haven’t been big players in the free agent market when it comes to punishing their division rivals. In recent years, we’ve seen multiple ex-Mets suit up for rivals. Wouldn’t it be nice for them to swipe up a player, too?