For depth, the Atlanta Braves should check on a player who’s been idle since 2017.
How desperate are the Atlanta Braves to fill out another bench slot? We might find out soon as the options are definitely limited right now.
While Yasiel Puig might have been a good option, he’s now out of the mix and that still leaves Atlanta wanting another bat. If they had their druthers, it would be a left-handed bat.
Have I got a deal for them…
Here’s a guy who hasn’t been able to get onto the field since 2017, but should be the ‘youngest’ 37-year-old (in September) around since his playing time odometer hasn’t flipped yet.
When healthy — and that’s been the big gotcha — he’s brought plenty of speed while hitting for a strong average. One season (okay, that was back in 2011), he even popped 32 homers while being an MVP runner-up.
Word is that he’s healthy, but teams have been leery of giving him a shot. The best part is that he’d be cheap — major league minimum cheap — since he’s technically still being paid by the Yankees (pending a grievance).
This falls under the broad category of “can’t hurt to ask”. Ellsbury doesn’t really carry a big bat — the kind that Atlanta has been hiring lately in the persons of Matt Joyce or Lucas Duda. He does hit from the left side, though.
He’s also got the problem of not having seen major league pitching in a true competitive setting for nearly 34 months. That’s likely the biggest problem vexing teams with interest in him.
There has been at least one so far. The Cubs had been mulling Ellsbury recently. And Ellsbury, for his part, has been trying to keep himself in shape enough to answer any bell that rings anywhere nearby.
Even if he can’t hit right away, don’t forget that nutty 10th inning rule that teams will have to deal with this year: the ‘runner on second base to start the inning’ rule. Ellsbury (22 steals in 2017) can still run a bit, and thus could be used in that role if nothing else.
Hey – the options are few, which is why this former All-Star is even a possibility — albeit a remote one. In this case, Ellsbury comes with virtually no downside risk, so he’s probably worth the phone call.