in 2010, the Atlanta Braves were in great position to be competitive for a long while. The system was loaded with talent. Names like Julio Teheran and Craig Kimbrel had hardly even gotten the feel for a big league mound yet. Freddie Freeman was still in Triple-A until that September. Kris Medlen was a young pitcher just settling into Atlanta. Today, Medlen is finalizing a minor league deal that brings him back to the Braves organization.
Kris Medlen is returning to the Braves with a Minor League deal that does not include an invitation to Spring Training.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) January 27, 2017
Kris Medlen Returns to Braves
Medlen, now 31, was drafted by the Braves in the 10th round of the 2006 draft. The Braves have always done a decent job of scanning the junior college ranks. In doing, so they found Medlen at Santa Ana College, just down the road from his hometown of Cerritos, CA.
The Braves first called on Medlen on May 21, 2009, when he made his debut against the Colorado Rockies. He would go on to pitch in 157 games with an ERA of 2.95 in five years for Atlanta. His time with the club was turbulent. In the end, he required two Tommy John surgeries before being non-tendered at the end of 2014. Medlen’s story one of promise, yet decimated by injury.
Braves Continue Stockpiling Arms
The idea behind this move is one that continues to follow the offseason trend for the Braves. In trying to pull together the remaining pieces of a bullpen with potential, the method of operation is to gather as many once-promising pitchers or pitchers with risk, in the hopes that a few will step up.
Bringing back Medlen fits that strategy perfectly, and could have immense payout if it works. It’s a cheap, low-risk signing that brings back an old fan-favorite going into the inaugural season at SunTrust Park. This deal brought Medlen back from the brink of retirement. If he ever wants to pitch in Atlanta again, he’ll have to force his case.