Atlanta Braves Rumors

Atlanta Braves trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

NL East Notes: Jennings, Braves, Hamels, Mets

Dan Jennings was a guest on MLB Network Radio’s Front Office show this morning, and the Marlins GM told hosts Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden (as per Bowden’s Twitter account) that owner Jeffrey Loria is willing to “open the checkbook” to make additions before the trade deadline.  Miami began the season with one of the league’s lowest payrolls at just under $46MM, yet despite losing ace Jose Fernandez to Tommy John surgery, the Fish began the day just 1.5 games out of first place in the NL East.  The Marlins could be looking to take advantage of their surprising good form, as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported earlier today that Miami has been as aggressive as any team in scouting for upgrades.

Here’s some more from around the NL East…

  • The Braves likely won’t be involved in the bidding for the RaysDavid Price or the CubsJeff Samardzija, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.  The team is already over budget and still has a solid starting rotation, despite the loss of Gavin Floyd.
  • The easiest way for the Phillies to rebuild would be to trade Cole Hamels, Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.  Despite Hamels’ big contract (he is owed approximately $107.5MM through the end of the 2019 season), he is younger and carries fewer health question marks than other veteran Phillies who could be available in trades.  “If I were in their boat, I’d really hate to move [Hamels],” a rival executive tells Brookover. “But if you go back to question about which player is going to bring you the most value, you’re going to get the most for that guy. You have to get the most you can for a guy like that. If you don’t, you keep him. But you’re only going to get 1.5 pieces for someone else when you could get a lot more than that for him.”
  • When Travis d’Arnaud returns this week, the Mets have the choice of either optioning Anthony Recker to Triple-A or exposing Taylor Teagarden to waivers, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin writes.  Also, Teagarden has the option of becoming a free agent if he is outrighted again.  Rubin explores several factors in the decision, such as whether the Mets would mind losing Teagarden, and the effect this roster move could have on catching prospect Kevin Plawecki‘s development.

Minor Moves: Fisher, Clay, Diaz, Panik, Stinson

Here’s a look at today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • The Braves have purchased the contract of Carlos Fisher from the Somerset Patriots and assigned him to Triple-A, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Fisher, 31, previously spent parts of three seasons with the Reds, most recently in 2011. He posted a 4.74 ERA, 7.84 K/9, and 5.02 BB/9 in 98 2/3 innings.
  • The Angels have signed Caleb Clay from the Korean Baseball Organization’s Hanwha Eagles and assigned him to Triple-A, according to Cotillo (via Twitter). Clay was selected 44th overall by the Red Sox during the 2006 amateur draft. He’s since pitched for the Sox and Nationals organizations but never reached the majors. The 26-year-old right-hander struggled in his first season overseas, with a 8.33 ERA, 4.50 K/9, and 5.63 BB/9.
  • Once again from Cotillo (on Twitter), the Diamondbacks have signed 27-year-old Argenis Diaz to a minor league deal. Diaz was with the Reds until recently. Interestingly, Arizona’s Triple-A affiliate has only used Didi Gregorius and Nick Ahmed at shortstop to date in 2014. Diaz will presumably provide depth up the middle.

From earlier…

  • The Tigers will promote lefty Pat McCoy, Mark Anderson of TigsTown.com tweets. McCoy will have to be added to their 40-man roster. McCoy, 25, has posted a 2.94 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 33 2/3 innings this season divided between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers signed McCoy, a product of the Nationals system, to a minor league deal last fall.
  • The Giants will promote prospect Joe Panik, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. Panik, the team’s first-round pick in 2011, will need to be added to the Giants’ 40-man roster. The second baseman was hitting .321/.382/.447 in 326 plate appearances for Triple-A Fresno.
  • The Orioles have announced that pitcher Josh Stinson has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles designated Stinson for assignment on Tuesday. He has pitched 13 innings for the Orioles this season, allowing nine runs while striking out six and walking six.
  • The Rockies have purchased the contract of pitcher Wilton Lopez, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding tweets. They’ve made space for Lopez by optioning pitching Chris Martin to Triple-A Colorado Springs and moving Michael Cuddyer to the 60-day DL. The Rockies outrighted Lopez last week.
  • The Yankees have released 1B/OF Russ Canzler, Donnie Collins of the Scranton Times-Tribune tweets. Canzler last appeared in the big leagues with the Indians in 2012. He hit .263/.332/.389 in 199 plate appearances for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2014.
  • The Royals have added selected the contract of OF Justin Maxwell, Jeffrey Flanagan of FOX Sports Kansas City tweets. Maxwell will take Norichika Aoki’s place on the active roster as Aoki heads to the disabled list with a groin injury. The Royals outrighted Maxwell in May, and he’s hit .316/.358/.541 in 106 plate appearances since then.
  • The Astros will add Jake Buchanan to their 40-man roster to start Saturday, and Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle notes (via Twitter) that fellow pitcher Jose Cisnero will head to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Buchanan on the 40-man roster. Buchanan, 24, has posted 5.2 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9 in 76 1/3 innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City this season.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Padres, Mariners, Indians, Braves

Early this morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wondered if the Padres might contemplate trading right-handed starter Andrew Cashner. Such a trade could help the club quickly rebuild. In his latest video, a rival executive rebuts Rosenthal’s theory. The executive believes the Padres are much more likely to move expensive veterans like Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin, Ian Kennedy, Huston Street, and Joaquin Benoit, citing impatience from the ownership group and an over budget roster. It’s also widely thought that Padres GM Josh Byrnes is on the hot seat, which could affect trade talks. Here is more from Rosenthal’s latest:

  • Speaking of GM’s on the hot seat, Jack Zduriencik is on a mission to win games and save his administration, according to rival executives. The Mariners have been branded as one of the most active teams on the trade market, with Nick Franklin as the most obvious trade asset. Rosenthal notes that the team lacks financial flexibility, which may make it hard to acquire high impact talent.
  • Rival executives believe the Indians would like to add “Miami Marlins type pitching,” leading several clubs to scout Cleveland’s farm system. While the Indians may want a front line starter, Rosenthal suggests they may be forced in another direction.
  • The Braves bullpen could potentially benefit from experience. Closer Craig Kimbrel has the most service time with four years. The ‘pen currently includes four rookies – two of whom made their big league debut on Friday. The Braves could use a starter, but they may lack the assets necessary to acquire a top hurler like Jeff Samardzija.


Braves Notes: Floyd, Harang, Gattis, Bethancourt

We’re still six weeks or so away from the non-waiver trade deadline, but trade discussions are beginning to pick up around the league. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter) that the Braves are already receiving interest in their starting pitchers. While the Braves certainly aren’t sellers, they can afford to move Gavin Floyd or Aaron Harang due to the presence of Alex Wood in the minor leagues, Morosi points out. Many clubs have been linked to pitching on the trade market, including the Blue Jays, Yankees, Orioles, Angels, Red Sox, Giants and A’s. Some have also speculated that the Pirates will make a move for a starter after Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano both hit the disabled list.

Here’s more on the NL East’s division leaders…

  • Mark Bowman of MLB.com writes that the Braves have had internal discussions about moving Evan Gattis to left field and promoting Christian Bethancourt to serve as the everyday catcher. In that scenario, Justin Upton would shift to right field, Jason Heyward would slide over to center field and B.J. Upton would fall into a reserve role. As Bowman notes, Bethancourt has hit very well over the past month for Triple-A Gwinnett, and there’s never really been any concern over his defensive skills, which are very highly regarded.
  • David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, however, hears a different story entirely. O’Brien writes that multiple sources within the organization have told him there hasn’t been any discussion of moving Gattis to the outfield, as he’s more valuable behind the plate. A move to the outfield, where he isn’t comfortable playing (according to O’Brien) would weaken the outfield defense and diminish Gattis’ value. O’Brien goes on to write that the Braves may consider making the switch if they feel they have no choice in a pennant race, but for the time being, a switch isn’t likely.
  • There’s simply no sense in the Braves’ decision to keep Dan Uggla on the roster at this point, ESPN’s Buster Olney opined over the weekend (Twitter link). The current situation helps neither the team nor the player, and both sides would benefit from Uggla being waived, Olney continues.

Braves Sign Braxton Davidson

MONDAY: Davidson announced (via his Instagram account) that he has officially signed with the Braves. Bowman tweeted earlier today that the agreement was indeed for the slot value.

THURSDAY: The Braves are getting close to a deal with first-round pick Braxton Davidson, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com. According to Bowman, Davidson will graduate from high school this weekend and then make the three-hour drive from his home in Asheville, N.C. to Atlanta in order to sign his first pro contract. Davidson is expected to sign near the slot value of $1.705MM, according to Bowman.

Braxton Davidson

Davidson was ranked as the draft’s No. 16 prospect on the Top 100 list of ESPN’s Keith Law. Baseball America ranked the slugging high school first baseman/outfielder No. 35, and MLB.com’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo ranked him 36th.

Law’s scouting report notes that when Davidson is at his best, he has one of the best swings in the draft class and at one point looked to perhaps have more upside than any hitter — college or high school — in this year’s draft class. Davidson draws praise for his ability to hit the ball to all fields — an element of his game that he discussed with me in depth when I spoke with him for MLBTR’s Draft Prospect Q&A series. Last June, Davidson set a tournament record with three homers in four games at the Tournament of the Stars, and that power along with an improved hit tool and a notable drop in strikeouts, helped boost Davidson’s draft stock in 2014. Davidson is regarded across the board as one of the best bats in this year’s class.

The Braves have just $4.5577MM to spend on this year’s draft — the third-lowest amount of any team — which is a reflection of both their strong finish in 2013 and the fact that they forfeited a draft pick to ink Ervin Santana in Spring Training. As Bowman notes, they’ve already agreed to deals with second-rounder Garrett Fulenchek, third-rounder Max Povse and fourth-rounder Chad Sobotka.

Photo courtesy of Kathryn Sizemore/Golden Fleece Media.


Draft Signings: Orioles, Angels, Cousino, Ockimey, More

Here are the day’s draft signings, with slot bonus information by way of Baseball America:

  • MLB.com’s Jim Callis tweets that Connaughton, Baltimore’s third-rounder, signed for the slot value of $428,100. Callis and his colleague Jonathan Mayo ranked Connaughton 112th prior to the draft and praised his 95 mph fastball.
  • The Orioles have announced the signing each of the first three players selected by the club: lefty Brian Gonzalez (3rd round, 90th overall, $594.2K allocation), righty Pat Connaughton (4th round, 121st overall, $428.1K allocation), and righty David Hess (5th round, 151st overall, $320.5K allocation). Actual bonuses have not yet been reported. Of course, Baltimore gave up the rights to its original first three choices by signing two qualifying offer free agents and dealing away the club’s compensation round A choice.
  • The Angels have signed 14 of the team’s selections to undisclosed bonuses, reports Jim Peltz of the Los Angeles Times. Among the players signed are junior righty Jeremy Rhoades (4th round, 119th overall, $436.5K allocation) and JuCo righty Jake Jewell (fifth round, 149th overall, $326.8K allocation).
  • Austin Cousino, the third-round selection of the Mariners, has agreed to terms, reports Cotillo (via Twitter). The University of Kentucky outfielder was taken at 80th overall, which comes with a $693.2K bonus allocation, though financial terms are not yet known.Baseball America and MLB.com valued Cousino in the sixth-round range.
  • Fifth-rounder Josh Ockimey has agreed to a $450K bonus with the Red Sox, tweets Cotillo. That represents a $167.2K overage against the slot value of the 164th overall choice. Ockimey is a high school first baseman from Pennsylvania.

Earlier Updates

  • The Dodgers have agreed to an at-slot, $534.4K bonus with third-round choice John Richy, tweets MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo. Richy, a junior righty from UNLV, was listed as Baseball America’s 203rd-best available player entering the draft.
  • The Braves have also inked their third-round pick, Max Povse, to a below-slot $425K bonus, Mayo reports on Twitter. That delivers $89.2K in savings against the 102nd pick’s allotted bonus value. Baseball America rated the UNC-Greensboro righty at 142nd on its list of the top 500 draft prospects.
  • Sixth-round pick Max George has been added by the Rockies with a well-above-slot $620K bonus, tweets Mayo. His slot value was just $259.2K. The Colorado high school shortstop, who did not appear on the draft boards of any major analysts, had been committed to Oregon State. That overage will account for a decent chunk of the team’s savings from signing first-rounder Kyle Freeland to a below-slot deal.
  • Brewers third-rounder Cy Sneed has agreed to an under-slot $400K bonus, tweets Mayo. That represents a $241.8K savings against the 85th overall slot’s assigned value. Sneed, a junior righty from Dallas Baptist, checked in at 158th on Baseball America’s rankings.
  • The Marlins have agreed to terms with third-round choice Brian Anderson at the below-slot mark of $600K, tweets Callis. Anderson’s 76th overall slot comes with a $737.2K allotment, meaning that Miami will save about $137.2K while adding a player that Baseball America listed as the 69th best available.
  • Fourth-round choice Taylor Gushue will land a full-slot, $388.8K bonus with the Pirates, Callis reports on Twitter. Both Baseball America and MLB.com saw the University of Florida backstop as landing just outside the top 100 draft prospects.
  • Milton Ramos, who reportedly agreed with the Mets yesterday, will receive a $750K bonus, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (via Twitter). That represents a $98.3K overage against the slot assessment for the 84th overall pick. Helping to make up for that, the club has also added fifth-round choice Josh Prevost with a $100K bonus that will save $239.6K against the pick’s slot value, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.

Braves Expected To Shop For Bullpen Help

The Braves could be lining up some changes to their pitching staff over the coming months, according to a report from David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A set-up man, in particular another lefty, could be on the team’s wish list at the trade deadline.

Atlanta has not received quite the performances it was hoping for out of some of its middle relievers, as David Carpenter, Luis Avilan (the team’s primary lefty), Ian Thomas, and Gus Schlosser have all posted earned run averages of greater than four per nine. (The latter two are currently working at Triple-A.) Avilan, in particular, has scuffled (including a troubling 4.9 BB/9), and fellow southpaw Alex Wood is heading back down to Triple-A to stretch out again as a starter. The team will hope that recent call-up Shae Simmons can continue his strong start, that Jordan Walden maintains his health, and that Carpenter can regain his form. But none of those arms provide a true alternative to Avilan, and an addition could firm things up and free Wood and perhaps David Hale to work from the rotation.

O’Brien also notes that the club may consider dealing from its rotation, possibly as part of the effort to add to the pen. He says that the team could dangle either Gavin Floyd or Aaron Harang, opining that the former could be the more likely candidate. Of course, while the team does have some depth, O’Brien notes that it may be hesitant to thin the rotation ranks too much — though Wood is certainly more valuable as a starter.

Indeed, it seems like a rather unlikely outcome for Atlanta to flip a starter for relief help. Most hypothetical trade partners that would be willing to part with a quality reliever would presumably not be interested in adding a veteran on an expiring contract. Should the Braves look to add a southpaw to the pen, there appear to be a few likely sellers with decent left handed relief options that could be shopped, such as the Cubs (Wesley Wright and James Russell), Padres (Alex Torres and Troy Patton), Diamondbacks (Oliver Perez and Joe Thatcher), and Astros (Darin Downs and Tony Sipp).


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Draft Signings: White, Oliver, LaValley, Greiner

Hundreds of draft-pick signings will be reported over the coming weeks, and we’ll run down today’s most notable agreements in this post…

  • Junior righty Chad Sobotka, the fourth round choice of the Braves, has agreed to an above-slot deal, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. He will receive $400K, slightly more than the 133rd pick’s $381.3K allotment.
  • The Marlins have given a $350K bonus to 11th round choice Nick White, a high school righty, tweets Callis. That is the largest bonus for a post-tenth-rounder thus far, says Callis. $250K of White’s bonus will be charged to Miami’s $14.2MM total pool.
  • The Phillies have agreed to a $550K bonus with fourth-rounder Chris Oliver, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). That represents a $83K overage as against the $467K pool assigned to the 112th pick. MLB.com’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo pegged Oliver as the 48th-rated draft prospect, while Baseball America rated the University of Arkansas righty as the 66th best player available.
  • Gavin LaValley, the Reds‘ fourth-rounder who was reported to have agreed to terms yesterday, will receive $525K, tweets Jim Callis of MLB.com. That is a good bit over the $411.9K slot assignment that came with the 125th overall choice.
  • The Tigers and third-rounder (No. 99 overall) Grayson Greiner have agreed to terms at the full slot value of $529,400, reports MLB.com’s Jim Callis (on Twitter). Callis notes that the South Carolina catcher draws more praise for his defense than his bat. Greiner was a Top 100 prospect per MLB.com, Baseball America and ESPN.
  • The Diamondbacks  saved $202K on their sixth-round selection, as MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets that they inked Middle Tennessee State left-hander Zac Curtis for just $40K. Arizona’s savings on Curtis will come in handy, as they inked Comp Round B pick Marcus Wilson earlier today to a deal that was $179K over slot. Baseball America ranked Curtis 373rd among draft prospects.
  • Cotillo also tweets that Reds third-rounder Wyatt Strahan received the full slot value of $588,700. MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reported last night that the two sides had agreed to terms.

Braves To Sign Second Rounder Garrett Fulenchek

The Braves have agreed to an above-slot deal with Garrett Fulenchek, the team’s second round draft choice (66th overall), reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter). MLB.com’s Jim Callis tweets that Fulenchek will get $1MM, higher than the bonus pool value of the pick of around $860K.

Fulenchek is a Texas high school product who emerged late and is said to have big upside if he can develop his secondary pitches and command behind a heavy sinker. Both MLB.com (which rated him the 57th-best prospect in the draft) and Baseball America (54th) placed the 6’4 right above the place he was taken. ESPN.com’s Keith Law, on the other hand, had Fulenchek in the 78th slot. He had been committed to pitch for Dallas Baptist.


Minor Moves: Worth, Simunic, Mazzaro

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • Though the Tigers announced earlier today that infielder Danny Worth has cleared outright waivers, though as Chris Iott of MLive.com reports, Worth has not yet decided whether or not to accept the assignment. Worth, 28, was designated for assignment earlier in the week when Detroit purchased the contract of shortstop prospect Eugenio Suarez.
  • Utility man Andy Simunic has inked a minor league deal with the Braves after being released by the Astros, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (via Twitter). Simunic, a former 17th-round pick, is a career .261/.332/.304 hitter in four seasons at the Triple-A level. The 28-year-old’s entire career has been spent in the Houston organization to this point.
  • Pirates reliever Vin Mazzaro, who cleared outright waivers yesterday, has accepted his assignment to Triple-A, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Our own Zach Links initially reported that he was on outright waivers, with Biertempfel reporting last night that he’d cleared.