It’s not personal Peter Moylan – it’s just business

David O’Brien writing for the Atlanta Braves blog discusses the situation regarding the future for Peter Moylan following the Brave’s decision to non tender him a contract.

We thought he might be non-tendered as soon as the extent of the injury became known. And even though the surgery wasn’t as invasive as most of  had expected when we first heard “torn rotator cuff,” it was nevertheless a procedure that typically requires six months of recovery.

And anyone who’s been around baseball for long can tell you, shoulders are more unpredictable and often more difficult to rehab that elbows. Especially for pitchers.

And he’s 33, not 23.

Moylan's tattoos should nicely conceal the surgery scars on his right shoulder and elbow.Moylan’s tattoos should nicely conceal the surgery scars on his right shoulder and elbow.

So even though Moylan is a clubhouse favorite and integral part of some recent Braves teams, a workhorse who has cranked out 80 or more appearances in three of the past four seasons, including a franchise-record 87 the year he came back from Tommy John elbow surgery, we knew the budget-conscious Braves might go the prudent route and not tender a contract that would’ve guaranteed him at least a $1.6 million salary in 2013 (the maximum paycut for arbitration-eligible players is 20 percent, and he made $2 mill in 2011).

Last week in Dallas at the Winter Meetings, GM Frank Wren made it pretty clear to us that’s the route the Braves would go, and later try to re-sign Moylan as a free agent provided they are satisfied with his rehab progress. They wanted to see if there are any lingering issues after he starts throwing, and did not want to commit much money to him when they believed there was a chance he’d not be ready for the early part of the season.

Moylan’s supposed to start throwing next month and told me Tuesday that his goal is to be ready at the beginning of the season. He said the shoulder feels strong and he has no restrictions on its use, other than to wait till January to throw. He posted on Twitter at about 6:15 a.m.Tuesday that he had completed his morning workout at the gym, adding, “And I guess I’m a free agent.”

Teammates might advise the Braves re-sign him because his contributions to the bullpen go beyond his considerable workload when healthy. He is a character who keeps everyone loose in the ‘pen, and already has more seniority than any reliever currently under contract on a team that lost Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito to retirement and free agency after the 2010 season, and let Scott Linebrink and George Sherrill go as free agents after they struggled or got hurt late in the 2011 season.

So unless the Braves sign another graybeard, Moylan will be the closest they have in the ‘pen. And even if they do sign another veteran, it’d probably help to have two older guys in the ‘pen. We never know when Kris Medlen, penciled in for bullpen duty, could get switched to the rotation and leave the ‘pen with only two pitchers (Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters) who currently have as much as two full seasons of MLB service?

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