Atlanta Braves Morning Chop – We’ve Seen This Before
"KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Atlanta released pitcher Freddy Garcia, who was contending for a spot in the Braves’ battered rotation, and signed right-hander Aaron Harang on Monday. The team announced Garcia’s unconditional release on the deadline for him to be put on the major league roster — which would have triggered a $1.25 million guaranteed salary. … The 37-year-old right-hander was cut despite a strong outing Sunday, when he limited the New York Mets to an unearned run and two hits over 5 1-3 innings. He was 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in five spring training starts."
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This isn’t the first time that we thought the team was heading in one direction with their pitching… and then changed course – seemingly at the last moment.
Indications this morning are that a roster crunch is in progress, which will likely result in additional player movement today. Trevor Cahill is effectively the 2015 version of Aaron Harang… which then leads to this question: who is playing the role of Freddy Garcia?
- Today (we thought it had been Wednesday) is the opt-out deadline for pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Eric Stults. The Braves need to put them on the 25-man roster (and they aren’t even on the 40 yet), or allow them to pursue another opportunity elsewhere. One of them has to go.
- Atlanta has already acquired two additional arms in the past 2 days: Andrew McKirahan for the bullpen and Trevor Cahill for the rotation. Cahill will undoubtedly be our 4th starter. McKirahan, who actually got the W in last night’s walk-off victory against the Orioles thanks to a perfect 9th inning, has been added to the bullpen. Both of these pitchers are on the 40-man roster, which currently holds 39 active names.
- Counting pitchers: we have Teheran, Wood, Miller, Cahill, ________ for starters (5). Kimbrel, Grilli, Johnson, Avilan, McKirahan, Jaime, and Foltynewicz (7).
- Counting hitters: Bethancourt, Pierzynski, Freeman, Peterson, Simmons, CJohnson, Callaspo, Gomes, Young, Markakis (10). That leaves the rest of the bench to be Gosselin, KJohnson, and Benson (probably – giving us 13 position players).
I am now counting Michael Foltynewicz for the bullpen because that’s the easiest resolution: he is already on the 40-man roster, and has some major league relief experience. His presence there would also give Fredi Gonzalez a “long man”.
Eric Young, Jr., Kelly Johnson, Joe Benson, plus either Stults or Wandy: none of these guys are on the 40-man roster. That’s 4 names that have to be crammed into a list that currently has 1 available space.
Here’s how the Braves will make 3 more spots:
- Josh Outman will likely be released
- Daniel Winkler will be moved to the 60-day Disabled List. That creates another opening
- Somebody will have to be outrighted, DFA’d, released… something.
Who Gets Bumped Out?
There are not many viable candidates. Oddly enough, the three I’m about to mention were all born within a month of one another:
- Elmer Reyes – 24 years old and though an excellent player at the minor league level, probably has no shot at the majors with Atlanta
- Arodys Vizcaino – this would be a revelation, but there are consequences to actions, and he just got caught doing something very bad. Ramifications aside, the Braves could choose to make an example of him today.
- Yean Carlos Gil – just was placed on the list in the Fall, but he’s assigned to High-A Carolina, and at 24, the Braves might decide they need the space more than they need him.
As we reported earlier – buckle up… it will be an interesting day at Disney World.