The Marlins optioned Bryan De La Cruz, Nick Fortes, Alex Jackson, and Lewin Diaz to Triple-A, per Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald (via Twitter). Diaz’s demotion might raise an eyebrow or two, but Jesus Aguilar and Garrett Cooper have first base covered at the big league level. De La Cruz’s demotion is the more surprising of the bunch, as the 25-year-old was thought to be in contention for at-bats in center field after posting a 115 wRC+ in 219 plate appearances last year.
Of course, Miami’s well-advertised desire to add a center fielder might have been clue enough to suggest the organization did not expect De La Cruz to be “the guy” in center. Offseason additions Jorge Soler and Avisail Garcia have the outfield corners locked down, while Jesus Sanchez becomes the frontrunner to start opening day in center. Brian Anderson will see time in the outfield as well, while Jon Berti will backup center. Delino DeShields and Roman Quinn remain in competition for a roster spot, notes Joe Frisaro of Man On Second Baseball (via Twitter). In other roster moves…
- The Pirates have optioned top pitching prospect Roansy Contreras to Triple-A, one of a number of roster moves made in anticipation of opening day. Yerry De Los Santos, Enmanuel Mejia, Hunter Stratton, and southpaw Blake Weiman were also reassigned to minor league camp, per the team. Contreras, the former Yankees’ farmhand, is the prospect of particular note here, the Pirates’ fourth-ranked prospect, per Baseball America. The 22-year-old made his Major League debut in 2021 in a scoreless, 3-inning outing, but he was not expected to make the opening day rotation. After all, though he made his debut, he also made just one start in Triple-A last season, spending most of the year in Double-A, pitching to a 2.65 ERA/2.74 FIP across 54 1/3 innings spanning 12 starts.
- The Braves reassigned Brad Brach and Michael Harris II to minor league camp, the team announced. Brach posted a 3.05 ERA over 415 appearances from 2012 to 2018 with the Padres, Orioles, and Braves. In the three years since, however, Brach has struggled to a 5.77 ERA with the Mets, Cubs, and Reds. In Cincinnati last season, Brach logged a 6.30 ERA/5.04 FIP in 30 innings over 35 appearances. Harris, 21, slashed .294/.362/.436 in 420 plate appearances in High-A last season.