The Braves will surprisingly designate right-hander Mike Foltynewicz for assignment, manager Brian Snitker told the media following Atlanta's 14-5 loss to the Rays on Monday. Right-hander Chad Sobotka will replace Foltynewicz on the Braves' active roster.
Foltynewicz, 28, started that game at Tropicana Field and allowed six earned and three home runs in 3 1/3 innings. Over that span he struck out three and walked four.
The decision to DFA Foltynewicz means that the Braves will have a limited window to either trade him -- likely for a minimal return -- or place him on irrevocable outright waivers. In other words, Foltynewicz's days with Atlanta will soon be at an end. Once he is DFA'd, he'll be removed from the Braves' 40-man roster and 60-man player pool.
The decision highlights Foltynewicz's precipitous decline. He was originally drafted by the Astros as the 19th overall pick in 2010, and in January of 2015 the Braves acquired him as part of the trade that sent Evan Gattis to Houston. Coming into his final season as part of the Astros organization, Foltynewicz was regarded by most to be a top-50 overall prospect.
Foltynewicz pitched solidly for the Braves prior to his 2018 breakout campaign, when he registered a 2.85 ERA with 202 strikeouts in 183 innings. As a result, he finished eighth in the NL Cy Young balloting, and Foltynewicz looked like a young centerpiece for the Braves. However, Foltynewicz ran into arm problems, and then came steep velocity loss. Foltynewicz in 2014 boasted a fastball that averaged more than 98 mph. That figure gradually declined to less than 95 mph last season, and on Monday he was at times below 90 mph with his four-seamer. As Snitker said after announcing the decision, "His stuff just hasn't been there."
Given how recently Foltynewicz flashed such promise, there's no doubt that teams will be lining up to take a flyer on him. Working against Foltynewicz, however, are the results, the stuff, and the fact that the organization that knows the most about him is poised to cut him loose.