Matt Eddy at Baseball America has a nice writeup on recent minor league transactions, noting that the Braves use various pro scouting channels to amass cheap bullpen talent. Recent additions to the team's 40-man roster include 29-year-old Wirfin Obispo, who was signed as a minor league free agent in 2012 and reaches the upper 90s with his fastball. The Braves also added lefty Ryan Buchter, whom they acquired in 2011 in a trade for another minor league arm. Buchter, 26, was one of just four pure relievers in the minor leagues in 2013 to record 100 strikeouts. Here's more from baseball's Eastern divisions:
- Jim Salisbury of Comcast Sportsnet examines free agents Edward Mujica and Joaquin Benoit as potential eighth-inning options for the Phillies. The club may be looking for a setup man again after last winter's acquisition, Mike Adams, missed much of 2013 with shoulder surgery.
- Marc Carig of Newsday offers an early look at the Mets' strategy in free agency. With more than $40MM in payroll space opening up this offseason, the Mets could be major players, and a club official tells Carig that only Robinson Cano will be too expensive. With holes in the outfield, at shortstop and in the rotation, the team also figures to be active in trade discussions, Carig writes.
- David Wright is working to sell free agents on the Mets, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports. "I’ve talked to a few players, but I expect I’ll do more of it as we have a better idea of who we’re going after," Wright says. The star third baseman adds that he doesn't believe players are concerned about the club's financial situation, though Matt Harvey's Tommy John surgery has emerged as a topic.
- Rays GM Andrew Friedman tells the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin that the team remains in the early stages of its offseason planning. "I think every October and into early November we're overwhelmed and not feeling all that confident that we'll be able to execute on our plan, and this year is no different," Friedman says. The Rays are expected to listen on lefty David Price this offseason and must also address openings at first base, DH and closer.
- Writing for WEEI.com, Alex Speier says the Red Sox's decision not to extend Jarrod Saltalamacchia a qualifying offer likely stems from the fact that the team couldn't risk three players accepting the one-year, $14.1MM deal in the same offseason. The Sox ultimately opted to extend the offer to Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury, with Ellsbury expected to decline. Speier provides a breakdown of the Sox's 2014 payroll, concluding that Boston likely has around $32MM to spend.