Earlier today it was reported that the Braves are expected to make a push for much-ballyhooed Cuban prospect Lazaro Armenteros (aka “Lazarito“), though it’s worth noting that they’d need to convince Armenteros to wait to sign until after July 2 (otherwise, their previously reported plan of shattering their international signing pool in the 2016-17 period would go out the window due to penalties from Armenteros’ bonus). As Braves fans ponder the chances of seeing their favorite club land Lazarito, here are few more items pertaining to Atlanta…
- The Braves “worked hard” to try to find a way to acquire infield prospect Isan Diaz from the Diamondbacks prior to his inclusion in the trade that allowed the D-backs to shed much of Aaron Hill’s salary, tweets MLB Network’s Peter Gammons. Per Gammons, the Braves appeared to have a similar idea to the Brewers (who acquired Diaz, Chase Anderson and much of Aaron Hill’s contract in exchange for Jean Segura and Tyler Wagner). Gammons notes that the Braves were trying to “alleviate [the] D-backs’ cash issues,” but a deal was never reached.
- Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution spoke to GM John Coppolella about the team’s rebuild and the differences between the trades he and president of baseball ops John Hart have made this winter and the ones the pair made last offseason. “In a lot of the trades we made in the 2014-2015 offseason, the players were a lot further away,” said Coppolella in reference to trades that netted the likes of Mallex Smith, Max Fried, Tyrell Jenkins, Rio Ruiz and others (although names like Shelby Miller and Mike Foltynewicz did represent MLB-ready options acquired last winter). “With [with the Miller and Andrelton Simmons trades], you really got six players you could see (in Atlanta) in 2016. A lot of the deals we made last year … were more to restart the system than have major-league impact in the short term.” Atlanta landed Major Leaguers Ender Inciarte and Erick Aybar in those trades as well as near-ready prospects Sean Newcomb, Chris Ellis, Aaron Blair and Dansby Swanson.
- Coppolella and scouting director Brian Bridges met with draft hopefuls A.J. Puk (LHP) and Buddy Reed (OF) recently, reports Scout.com’s Bill Shanks. Either Florida Gators star could be a candidate for the Braves’ top pick, per Shanks, though as he notes, Coppolella recently stated that the team’s preference would be to draft a hitter.
- In his latest Braves Inbox column, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman notes that while the jury is out on the Hector Olivera trade, it’s fair to wonder whether Olivera’s stock can recover from the hit it took with shaky performances in the Majors and in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Bowman also fields a question on left-hander Mike Minor, replying by saying that Minor’s “days of pitching for Atlanta appear to be over, at least for now.” Minor is still recovering from his shoulder surgery, Bowman writes, adding that it sounds like Minor could sign with a new club within the next month.