The Braves have outrighted reliever Joel De La Cruz, catcher Blake Lalli and first baseman Brandon Snyder off their 40-man roster, according to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy. Each of the three can and very likely will become minor league free agents this offseason.
Signed to a minor league pact this offseason, the 27-year-old De La Cruz made his big league debut with Atlanta in 2016 and wound up tossing a fairly substantial 62 2/3 innings for the Braves across nine starts and 13 relief appearances. In that time, De La Cruz worked to a 4.88 ERA with 5.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 43.1 percent ground-ball rate. The longtime Yankees farmhand, who has also spent time in the Brewers and Nationals organizations, averaged 91.3 mph on a sinker he threw for just over half of his offerings, per PITCHf/x data, also working in a slider and a changeup. Neither De La Cruz’s Major League nor minor league numbers stand out, but his 4.15 ERA in parts of three seasons (184 1/3 innings) at the Triple-A level is an identical match with his career 4.15 ERA across five minor league levels, so he can function as a serviceable depth piece in a club’s Triple-A rotation or bullpen.
The 33-year-old Lalli, meanwhile, returned to the Majors for the first time since 2013 and picked up 13 plate appearances with a pair of hits. He’s seen parts of three seasons in the Majors, though he has just 53 plate appearances and a .305 OPS in that time. He’s fared considerably better at Triple-A, where he’s a lifetime .265/.316/.376 hitter.
And Snyder, 29, tallied 47 PAs this season and hit .239/.255/.652 — one of the stranger batting lines you’ll come across anytime soon. The 29-year-old collected 11 hits but just one single, as he belted four homers to go along with five doubles and a triple in his brief stint, bumping his career batting line to .242/.279/.459. Clearly, as evidenced by the .217 ISO (slugging percentage minus batting average) that he’s posted in the Majors, there’s some pop in Snyder’s bat, though he’s never been able to carve out a prolonged role in the bigs. Formerly selected with the 13th overall pick by the Orioles in 2005, Snyder is a career .274/.336/.437 hitter in the minors, including a .259/.319/.411 slash in parts of seven Triple-A seasons.