When the Atlanta Braves pruned the roster, the number of players moved at one time rather than their names grabbed everyone’s attention. They left to make room for future deals in the Braves pipeline.
The Meaning of the Moves
Michael Soroka was out of options and widely considered a non-tender candidate. Kolby Allard didn’t pitch well enough to stick around, and Sam Hilliard finished the year on the IL. Ben Heller and Michael Tonkin were on the roster because injuries to others made them unavailable.
The Braves added Andrew Velasquez and Chadwick Tromp to add depth in the event of an injury during postseason play. Both signed back with the team on minor league deals within a week of being released.
Chirinos pitched to a 9.27 ERA, Nick Anderson threw 35 innings on a one-year deal and was arbitration-eligible for his age-34 season. Two years ago, Nicky Lopez was the second-best defensive shortstop in baseball, but his bat is replacement level. Then, there’s Kyle Wright.
Wright was going to make the princely sum of $1.4M next year to rehab from surgery and attempt to return in 2025 to earn around $2.4M. From the standpoint of the 2024 payroll, the net change is less than $1.4M because Jackson Kowar earns $740K this year if he plays in Atlanta, and I expect he will. More on Kowar in a bit.
Shouldering The Load
We hear about shoulder issues so often they seem routine and merely an annoyance, but that’s far from accurate. Before I throw statistics around, I want to make sure everyone’s familiar with the terms bandied about when shoulders are discussed. You’ll see two of the most commonly used terms in this paragraph, so a quick definition is in order. These definitions come courtesy ofGeorgia Shoulder and Elbow.
- The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that work together to support and anchor the shoulder joint in place while allowing you to move your arm and shoulder.
- The labrum reinforces the ball-and-socket joint within your shoulder. It supports the muscles and tendons found in your rotator cuff, allowing you to have a full range of motion, and provides stability and cushioning for your shoulder.
- Debridement: Debridement involves removing loose fragments of tendon, thickened bursa, and other debris from around the shoulder joint.
- Rotator Cuff Repair: A rotator cuff repair includes shaving bone or removing bone spurs from the point of the shoulder blade. Then, the torn edges of the (rotator cuff) are sewn together and to the top of the upper arm bone.
According to Performance and return to sport following rotator cuff surgery in professional baseball players, no matter whether the player has a debridement (cleanout) or repair to the rotator cuff, all players who returned experienced a decline in performance after surgery.
"Most performance metrics declined following rotator cuff debridement. RTS rate was 50.8% (42.3% at the same level or a higher level and 8.5% at a lower level).
For players who underwent repair, the RTS rate was 33.3%, 14.3% at the same level or a higher level, and 19% at a lower level."