Atlanta Braves Rumors

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

Minor Moves: Snyder, Clark, Robinson, Dobbs

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

  • Brad Snyder, who recently elected free agency after being outrighted by the Rangers, has signed with the LG Twins of the Korea Baseball Organization, Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net reports (via Twitter). Snyder has crushed Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .288/.351/.507 batting line in his career but has never received an extended look in the bigs.
  • First baseman Matt Clark, who recently opted out of his minor league deal with the Mets, tweets that he has signed a new minor league deal with the Brewers (hat tip: Adam Rubin of ESPN New York on Twitter). Clark hit .297/.380/.498 with 10 homers for Double-A Binghamton this season, one year after he posted a .785 OPS and hit 25 bombs for the Chunici Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.
  • Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports that the Braves are set to acquire right-hander Andrew Robinson from the Astros. The 26-year-old Robinson, a former 12th-round pick by the Astros, has excelled in 41 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this season, posting a combined 2.40 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. Further details of the deal aren’t known at this time.
  • The Nationals announced that Greg Dobbs has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Syracuse.  The 35-year-old was designated for assignment last week.  He has largely struggled in a limited bench role for the Marlins and Nats this year and owns a .171/.186/.195 line through 43 plate appearances on the season.  Over parts of 11 seasons in the bigs, Dobbs has slashed .261/.306/.386 over 2,272 plate appearances.

Minor Moves: Collier, Loe, Pineiro, Maine

Here are today’s minor league transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…

  • Phillies outfielder Zach Collier cleared waivers and was outrighted to Double-A, the team announced.  The Phils designated Collier for assignment earlier this week.  Collier, picked 34th overall in 2008, has a .240/.312/.349 slash line over 2084 career minor league plate appearances.
  • The Braves released righty Kameron Loe, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (via Twitter).  Loe posted an 8.83 ERA in 17 1/3 relief innings with Triple-A Gwinnett after signing a minor league deal with the Braves last month.  This is Loe’s third change of teams in 2014, as he already opted out of a minor league deal with the Giants in March and was released by the Royals in May.
  • The Angels released right-hander Joel Pineiro, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports (Twitter link).  Pineiro struggled to a 7.48 ERA over four Triple-A starts after signing a minor league deal with the Halos earlier this month.  Pineiro was attempting a comeback after missing most of 2012 and all of 2013 recovering from shoulder problems,  and the Angels were his second stop after already being released by the Cubs earlier this season.
  • The Reds have signed left-hander Scott Maine to a minor league deal and assigned him to Double-A.  Maine had been pitching for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League, and the transaction was announced via Bridgeport’s team website.  The southpaw had a 4.95 ERA, 10.4 K/9 and a 5.75 K/BB rate in 20 innings for the Bluefish this season, with all but one of his 19 appearances coming out of the bullpen.  Maine posted a 5.59 ERA and 48 strikeouts over 46 2/3 IP with the Cubs and Indians from 2010-12, though he was plagued by both the long ball (1.5 HR/9) and walks (4.8 BB/9) over his brief stint in the bigs.  Maine spent 2013 pitching in the Marlins’ farm system.

Quick Hits: Headley, Braves, Uehara, Peavy

The results of today’s Giants-Reds and Dodgers-Cardinals games look like the crest of a sea change that has reshaped the NL playoff race. Homer Bailey took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning against the Giants, and the Reds emerged with a 4-0 win. Meanwhile, Clayton Kershaw struck out 13 Cardinals in seven innings as the Dodgers cruised to a 6-0 victory. The Dodgers, 9 1/2 games out of first in the NL West three weeks ago, are now even with the Giants, and the Reds are now tied with St. Louis for second place in the Central. With two teams near the top in the NL East as well, and a wide-open Wild Card picture, there could be plenty of competition for veteran talent at the trade deadline. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • Third baseman Chase Headley says he doesn’t feel the Padres are the reason he’s inconsistent, and doesn’t think a change of scenery will help him, Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. “Even when things are going full-on crappy, like now, I’m confident that sometime in the near future, I’m going to get healthy, stay healthy and start playing the way I know I’m capable of,” says Headley. “I don’t look at it like, ‘Man, I gotta get out of here to be me again.’ I’m going to be me again, whether it’s here or somewhere else.” Headley is currently hitting .207/.294/.332 while dealing with a herniated disk in his back, but his banner 2012 season likely ensures there will be plenty of interest in him, both at the trade deadline and when he becomes a free agent this offseason.
  • The Braves‘ constant stream of young talent helps keep them consistently competitive and prevents them from having to rebuild, Marc Narducci of Philly.com writes.  “What they have done in our organization is pretty special,” says Freddie Freeman. “They have great development people and it seems like when a guy is ready, they don’t let him sit there and they give him at-bats – and that is what they did with me.” Narducci contrasts the Braves’ approach with that of the Phillies, who seem to keep older players longer and often lack interesting young players to plug into their lineup when playing time finally becomes available.
  • The Red Sox should consider trading Koji Uehara, John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes. Tomase points to the Rangers’ 2003 trade of Ugueth Urbina to the Marlins for Adrian Gonzalez and two other players as evidence of the good things that can happen when a team deals an experienced closer. As Tomase himself notes, of course, it’s very rare to receive a player of Gonzalez’s caliber in return for a reliever. And of course, first the Red Sox need to figure out if they’re buyers or sellers. “Here’s how I view it from the outside. The first thing you have to do is cross that bridge and say, ‘Is it even worth it for us to go out and try to fill two or three holes?‘” says John Hart, the former Rangers GM who pulled off the Gonzalez deal.
  • Sox starter Jake Peavy will be a free agent this winter, and the emergence of Rubby De La Rosa has led to speculation about the possibility Peavy could be traded. But Peavy says he’s not concerned about trade rumors, WEEI.com’s Alex Speier writes. “I have a great relationship with my pitching coach (Juan Nieves), my manager (John Farrell) and my general manager (Ben Cherington). We’re all very open with each other. I don’t need any clarity on any situation involving anything,” says Peavy. “If you start worrying about stuff like that, your focus is off where it needs to be and it’s going to affect things.”


Gavin Floyd Undergoes Season-Ending Surgery

JUNE 26: The Braves announced that Floyd underwent surgery to repair the issue yesterday and described the operation as “season-ending.” Floyd’s surgery was performed by Dr. David Altchek — the same surgeon who performed his Tommy John surgery in 2013.

JUNE 19: Braves right-hander Gavin Floyd has suffered a broken olecranon bone in his right elbow and will be placed on the disabled list, the team announced (Twitter links). While the recovery time has yet to be announced, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan notes that Joel Zumaya suffered the same injury on June 28, 2010 and missed the remainder of the season (Twitter link). Floyd’s case, of course, is its own case and doesn’t necessarily have to follow the same timeline.

The silver lining for the Braves, if there is one, is that the team has a very capable replacement in the minor leagues in the form of left-hander Alex Wood. The 23-year-old Wood owns a 3.30 ERA in 101 career innings as a starter but found himself as the odd man out when Atlanta elected to go with a starting rotation of Floyd, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang.

Still, there will likely be some hot stove repercussions of the injury. For one, Floyd himself had been mentioned as a possible trade chip to help the Braves secure some bullpen help. Additionally, his injury leaves the Braves a bit thinner in terms of rotation depth, which could limit their willingness to trade from their remaining depth in order to improve areas of need.

Atlanta signed Floyd to a one-year, $4MM contract as he returned from Tommy John surgery. The 31-year-old has pitched very well in his 54 1/3 innings for the Braves, posting a 2.65 ERA with 7.5 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 49.5 percent ground-ball rate.


Minor Moves: Whiteside, Texeira, Slowey, Bell, Schlereth

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves from around the league right here…

  • Cubs backstop Eli Whiteside has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A, reports Carrie Muskat of MLB.com (via Twitter). The 34-year-old, who saw only minimal action with the Cubs, was designated for assignment on Sunday.
  • The Braves have inked righty Kanekoa Texeira to a minor league deal, according to the MLB transactions page. The 28-year-old, who last threw in the bigs in 2011 with the Royals, threw effectively over each of the last two seasons at Triple-A with the Reds. He had been pitching for the independent Bridgeport Bluefish in 2014 before joining Atlanta.
  • Righty Kevin Slowey has been released by the Marlins, reports MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (via Twitter). Slowey owned a 5.30 ERA through 37 1/3 innings this year, most of which came in relief. He had been a starter for much of his prior time as a big leaguer, and owns a 4.62 ERA over 662 career MLB frames.
  • The Yankees have released reliever Heath Bell, reports MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (via Twitter). Bell, who recently signed a minor league deal, had a 7.50 ERA in five appearances at Triple-A Scranton. In 17 1/3 frames at the major league level with the Rays this year, Bell threw to a 7.27 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9.
  • The Tigers have acquired southpaw Daniel Schlereth from the Pirates, reports John Wagner of the Toledo Blade. James Schmel of MLive.com tweets that the Pirates will receive cash considerations. This will be Schlereth’s second stint with the Tigers, as he spent the 2010-12 seasons in Detroit’s bullpen after coming over in the three-team Max Scherzer/Curtis Granderson/Ian Kennedy/Austin Jackson blockbuster. Schlereth’s long-standing control problems have been very apparent this season at Triple-A; he’s walked 18 batters and surrendered 18 hits in 18 2/3 innings en route to a 7.23 ERA. On the plus side, he’s also fanned 18 hitters in that time.

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.