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The Daily Chop: Will Braves rotation benefit from extended absence?

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The absence of baseball is miserable.

MLB: Game Two-Texas Rangers at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves added Cole Hamels to their rotation this offseason, hoping to fortify a youthful pitching staff. Hamels arrived at Spring Training in mid-February, when it was announced that the left-hander had sustained a shoulder injury while working out with a medicine ball. This placed doubt about when Hamels would make his season debut, with reports indicating that team physicians were targeting an early-May start date. This plan was slightly unsatisfying, but could have been significantly worse.

Fast-forward to today, when a one month delay for Hamels’ season debut is just a trivial detail in regards to the overall suspension of baseball. The Braves had hoped that they could deliver a strong rotation by mid-season, but now hope to simply play a game by mid-season. The scope of the world’s COVID-19 issue obviously extends well beyond baseball, but this is a harsh reality that has become more evident with each passing day.

However, when baseball does commence with its Opening Day, the likelihood of Cole Hamels being a member of the rotation is significantly greater. Given their $18 million commitment to the 36-year-old, this would seem to be the clear preference of the Braves, though they likely hoped it would be much sooner. Can this extended absence be a help to the Braves rotation?

There was little doubt about the health of the other members of the rotation, though the fourth and fifth starter spots were both up for grabs with Hamels expected to be out for an extended period. Having a left-handed starter with such a decorated pedigree could do wonders for the young crop of arms in Atlanta, and whenever baseball does return the Braves will likely field a stronger team than they might have otherwise.

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