The Braves announced this morning that veteran utilityman Brock Holt requested and was granted his release. He’d been in camp on a minor league deal in hopes of winning a roster spot in Atlanta but will now return to the open market in search of a new opportunity.
It’s common for veteran players to exercise out clauses and/or request their release in this manner late in Spring Training. Manager Brian Snitker tells reporters that Holt had been informed he would not make the team (Twitter link via Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), and the club honored his request to explore other options. Veterans Phil Gosselin and Pat Valaika are still vying for a utility spot, Toscano adds.
Holt, 33, spent the 2021 season with the Rangers and appeared in 77 games, batting .209/.281/.298 in 260 trips to the plate. That rough season continued a downturn at the plate that began in 2020, but Holt still isn’t too far removed from a productive 2018-19 stretch in Boston that saw him slash .286/.366/.407 in a larger sample of 662 plate appearances.
A left-handed hitter known for his defensive versatility, Holt’s jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none skill set has found him consistent opportunities at the big league level dating back to 2014. He’s played every position on the diamond with the exception of catcher, including 2 1/3 innings on the mound. Holt’s work in center field is limited to just 75 innings, but beyond that he’s played at least 224 innings in both outfield corners and at all four infield slots.
With rosters expanding to 28 players for the early portion of the season, a versatile veteran with Holt’s overall track record at the plate — he’s a .262/.332/.362 hitter in 2661 MLB plate appearances — ought to have interest from other clubs. For what it’s worth, he went 3-for-9 with a home run, a double and a walk in his limited time with the Braves this spring.