The Braves announced a series of roster moves today, most notably recalling young catcher Christian Bethancourt from Triple-A Gwinnett and designating veteran reliever David Aardsma for assignment. Outfielder Eury Perez has also been optioned to Triple-A, with righty Sugar Ray Marimon being recalled to join the bullpen.
Originally signed to a minor league deal with the Dodgers, the 33-year-old Aardsma excelled at the Triple-A level and opted out of his contract with L.A. in May, quickly latching on with the Braves. Aardsma was added to the big league bullpen in relatively short order, and he’s totaled 30 2/3 innings of relief with Atlanta this year.
Though he’s missed quite a few bats (10.3 K/9 and a career-best 14.8 percent swinging-strike rate), Aardsma has also been more homer-prone than usual, surrendering six long balls in his time with the Braves. Paired with a 4.1 BB/9 rate, he’s posted a 4.70 ERA this season. He’s already cleared revocable waivers, so the Braves will have the ability to try to trade him for a nominal return if there are teams intrigued by Aardsma’s strikeout capabilities. xFIP and SIERA, which both normalize his abnormally high homer-to-flyball rate, peg him a 4.13 and 3.44, respectively, giving some hope for improved performance.
As for Bethancourt, the 23-year-old was looked at as Atlanta’s catcher of the future not long ago and may still be, though reports earlier this year tied the Braves to young catchers. Bethancourt batted just .198/.221/.287 in 104 PAs earlier this year and has batted just .223/.248/.279 in 222 big league PAs. However, he was hitting .327/.359/.480 at Triple-A this season and is lauded by scouts for his defensive prowess, including a throwing arm which many grade as an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale.