The Braves have over $10MM in leftover payroll that they could use to upgrade the club in-season, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman writes. It’s also possible they could use some of that money on amateur international talent. Of course, it seems very unlikely that the Braves will contend this season, so it would be very surprising if they were deadline buyers in the traditional sense. Perhaps, though, there are scenarios in which they could use their extra payroll to take on the contract of a player signed beyond 2016 who might help them in future seasons. Here’s more out of Atlanta.
- Also via Bowman, GM John Coppolella also notes that the Braves will not let service time concerns dictate the promotion timelines of players like Aaron Blair or Tyrell Jenkins (neither of whom have yet pitched in the Majors) should those players prove they deserve to start the season in the Braves’ rotation.
- It doesn’t appear pitchers like Blair and Jenkins will win rotation spots, but perhaps it is possible. Via David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (on Twitter), Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez says that only three pitchers (Julio Teheran, Matt Wisler and Bud Norris) are penciled into rotation spots as of now, with the other two spots open. (Other potential rotation options include non-roster invitees Kyle Kendrick and Jhoulys Chacin, along with younger pitchers like Williams Perez, Manny Banuelos and Ryan Weber.)
- Braves reliever Jason Grilli believes he’ll be able to make a successful return from the ruptured Achilles tendon that caused him to miss the second half of last season, Bowman reports. Bowman writes that Grilli has been throwing off a mound without trouble. Grilli notes that he’s had tougher injuries in the past, including a knee injury that caused him to miss the entire 2010 season. “This was child’s play in comparison to the knee,” he says. “They told me I wasn’t going to walk again with my knee. So, with the Achilles, there are still some precautions you take, just like you do with your arm. I’m just coming in here and I’ve got six weeks to get ready.” The 39-year-old was having a terrific season in 2015 prior to the Achilles injury, posting a 2.94 ERA, 12.0 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 while saving 24 games in his 33 2/3 innings.