Braves catcher Tyler Flowers has been placed on the 10-day DL with a strained left oblique muscle, the team announced. No timeline for his return was given, but oblique issues tend to sideline a player for a month or more. In a pair of corresponding moves, Atlanta has selected the contract of right-hander Miguel Socolovich and transferred left-hander Jacob Lindgren to the 60-day DL. Lindgren recently underwent Tommy John surgery.
The 32-year-old backstop suffered the injury in his first at-bat of the season in yesterday’s opener. As Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted yesterday after Flowers exited the game, he’d been slowed by a groin issue in Spring Training that created enough concern for the Braves to carry three catchers to begin the season. Veteran Chris Stewart made the Braves’ roster after signing a non-guaranteed big league deal this offseason, and he’ll now likely serve as the backup to Kurt Suzuki for the foreseeable future, as Suzuki steps into the role of manager Brian Snitker’s primary catcher.
It’s a tough blow for the Braves, who enjoyed a career year from Flowers in 2017. Long regarded as a quality defensive catcher, Flowers took his offensive game to new heights last season when he slashed .281/.378/.445 with a dozen homers in 370 trips to the plate. That marked a continuation of the improvements he showed in his first season of a two-year deal (plus a 2018 option) with the Braves, as Flowers has followed up seven underwhelming offensive campaigns with the White Sox to hit .276/.368/.433 for the Braves — the team that originally selected him in both the 2004 and 2005 drafts.
With Flowers on the shelf, Atlanta will look to Suzuki to build upon on his own career year from 2017. The 34-year-old Suzuki hit .283/.351/.536 with a career-best 19 homers last year in 309 PAs for the Braves. Rather than test the open market, Suzuki instead agreed to a one-year, $3.5MM extension with Atlanta late last September.
Socolovich, 31, has spent the past three seasons in the Cardinals organization, totaling 66 1/3 innings of relief work and posting a 3.80 ERA with 7.7 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 44.1 percent ground-ball rate. Socolovich has averaged just 90.6 mph on his heater in that time but has gotten by thanks to a knack for limiting hard contact (27.8 percent hard-hit rate, 16.4 percent line-drive rate) and inducing pop-ups (14.4 percent infield-fly rate).
Personally if we r going to make an impact next year, I think an elite catcher is on our checklist to sign or attempt to trade for. Miami has one that’s sorta dangling on the market that I would love to see the braves get. I just don’t think flowers is that good nor do I think he will maintain what he did last year. There r other needs, but this will be #2 or #3 on the list
My guess is they’re trying to bridge the gap for catcher Alex Jackson. He’s really not too far off from the majors.
Yea but from projections I don’t see him being much better nor do I see him being a long term answer. Hope I’m wrong though. To me Alex Jackson is the best sort of prospect to use as a trade chip before he comes to the mlb
I agree that Alex Jackson looks like a possible trade chip. I can’t imagine him being better than Evan Gattis at best. If that is true, does it seem that is the type of catcher a national league team counts on daily?
Alex Jackson will likely get the first shot at being the future, but the Braves have several options on the way! If Alex Jackson fails, or is traded, then there is William Contreras. Yes the younger brother of Cubs catcher Willson Contreras! Brett Cumberland has also shown the ability to hit from both sides of the plate as he is moving up the prospect list. THen if Drew Lugbauer can handle catching he might have the best bat of them all!
Basically the Braves have options on the way and there is not need to overpay for JT Realmuto at this time! I personally like Contreras as the future!
Also, don’t sleep on Lucas Herbert, the HS battery mate of Kolby Allard. Herbert, since he was drafted, has been heavily praised for his defensive abilities, and his skills handling his pitchers, but he has struggled offensively. Even so, he took some major steps forward offensively last season, and if he can continue that progression offensively, then he could become a solid contender for the Braves next long-term catcher…
My personal favorite is Contreras, and I believe he will become a top 100 prospect by mid-season this year. He has ALL the tools currently, and he has only been getting better with the more experience he gets..
Either way, with Jackson, Cumberland, Herbert, and Contreras, the Braves are in good hands behind the dish. They may need to resign Flowers or Suzuki for another year after this season, but after that Jackson should be more than ready to show what he’s got. Within two yeats, after that Herbert and Contreras will be ready also. So, there really isn’t any need to trade away assets, while the Braves have their future already..
Contreras very well could ultimately become a top 10 catcher in the league. So, I’m certainly not worried, it’s just a matter of whether or not Jackson and Herbert can hold down the fort until he fully develops…
Its so hard to develop young catchers im fine with sticking with veterans for now. 3B, RF, and a quality 1 or 2 type starter are more pressing.
You must not be a fan of Austin Riley??
The organization views Riley as their future at the hot corner, and by all accounts, he has only improved every season as he climbed the minor league ranks…
Plus, he’s the power bat the Braves line-up desperately needs to couple with Freeman, Acuña, and even the little power beast Albies!! lol
No one thinks that Flowers is going to be the long term solution at catcher. He’s a stop gap until Alex Jackson gets a shot to prove he could be Javy 2.0. Realmuto is good, but the fish will want Albies if they can’t get Acuña. So that’s not gonna happen.
Listen, the marlins basically handed away their top 3 players for next to nothing. Braves can get RT for cheap if they wanted.
The thing is, Miami is in control w/ RT. They weren’t w/ Stanton. He was the one who’d decide where he went.
In 2016 the Cubs didn’t have an elite catcher. Neither did the Astros in 2017.
If Suzuki has to hit the DL, the Braves should sign one of the remaining FAs. Chooch, Norris? Then look for a longer-term answer.
AA has dealt with his old team before. Maybe he could pry Grandal away from the Dodgers for a couple of those fine pitching prospects.
I hate that for Tyler. Hope he gets well soon.
Wasn’t Socolovich awful in spring training? His callup concerns me.
9.95 ERA in 7 games (6.1 IP) with 4 K’s and 3 BB’s. I would be very concerned lol. Would’ve been much better off bringing up a guy like Morris or Biddle. Both still have an option too, if necessary.
I don’t understand why the braves hold biddle and Morris back? There has to be financial reasons or control or something
Well, Biddle has been coming back from a series of injuries, but I really don’t understand why they aren’t giving Morris a legitimate shot..
You would think that they’d be giving the spot to Biddle, Blair, Morris, or even some of their more promising guys at AAA…Especoally, since they even opened up a spot on their 40-man, with Lindgren moving to the 60-day DL…
Socolovich is absolutely awful. If he gets any meaningful innings someone should be fired
He’s there for mop up duty, I’m sure.
Socolovich was terrible I am surprised they did not bring Santana back for some bench speed.
Don’t let these moves distract you from the fact that Rex Brothers is still on the roster.
Rex Brothers should not be pitching any games for Braves
Rex Brothers should not be pitching. FTFY
Brothers should not be used with runners on base and the game on the line. I’m ok with him starting an inning when we have a sizable lead or deficit. Maybe.
Well played, sir.
The Braves currently have 3 to 4 better pitchers in AAA, than Brothers and Socolovich…
Someone free MORRIS!! I was very suprised not to see him get a shot, or even Aaron Blair getting the call up, in case they need a guy to pitch 3 innings or so, if one of their starters falter early on…
Socolovich was called up so the braves would not have to burn the options on a player they want to keep. They should be able to send socolovich back down to minors without issues in a week or two and did not want to use an option for such a short period. The braves announcers mentioned that flowers heard a pop when he injured himself, bad news there hopefully there will be an update soon to explain the injury in more detail. Kurt suzuki went down tonight as well he got hit on his throwing hand by a pitch. Should be some moves forthcoming.