Atlanta Braves – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-07-19T02:10:49Z WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[All-Star Notes: Red Sox, Lowrie, Markakis, Abreu]]> 2018-07-17T20:10:22Z 2018-07-17T20:10:22Z While the focus this time of year is obviously on trade possibilities, the All-Star break also provides reporters an opportunity to ask players about their own long-term preferences. It’s not surprising, then, that we’ve seen a run of stories on players who won’t be traded away, but also aren’t under long-term control.

  • The Red Sox have certainly enjoyed an excellent opening run, led by excellent performances from a number of core players. It’d be a surprise to see any mid-season dealmaking, but the club might be expected to look into some new arrangements in the offseason to come. Closer Craig Kimbrel represents the most pressing situation, since he’ll be a free agent. As Christopher Smith of reports, Kimbrel says he and his family would “love to stay” but certainly indicated he’ll wait to see what the market bears. Though he only arrived a few months ago, slugger J.D. Martinez says he’d be open to exploring a new pact that might eliminate some of his opt-out opportunities, as he tells Chris Cotillo of Of course, there’s plenty of time left before he’s scheduled to have a shot at returning to the open market (post-2019), and there’s reason to wonder whether the organization really would want to pay up to enhance its control rights. In between those two players in terms of contract situation is staff ace Chris Sale. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe argues that, with one more option year left to go, the Boston organization ought to look into locking up the 29-year-old for the foreseeable future.
  • It seemed at one time that infielder Jed Lowrie would feature as a trade chip, but the surging Athletics obviously now have no plans to sell. Instead, attention has turned to the question whether he might end up returning to Oakland at season’s end. As John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, Lowrie says the front office has “expressed interest this time” around — unlike the prior time his contract with the A’s was nearing an end. Lowrie, a first-time All-Star in his 11th MLB season, indicated that he’d be open to working something out to return for a sixth campaign in Oakland, though it’s not clear whether any effort at mid-season talks will be made.
  • It’s a similar story for Braves outfielder Nick Markakis, another respected veteran who finally earned an All-Star nod. As Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes, Markakis indicated he expects to keep playing after his contract runs out this fall — which is no surprise given his strong performance thus far. Whether that’ll take place in Atlanta or elsewhere, though, isn’t yet on his mind. “We’ll deal with that stuff in the offseason when the time comes,” says the veteran.
  • Those sorts of questions have long floated around White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, who stands out as a quality veteran on a very youthful roster. As Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times reports, Abreu says he hopes to have a chance to win before his time is up in Chicago. His focus is on “just trying to enjoy the moment with the team” at the moment, but the slugger also indicated that he’s at least open to spending more time on the South Side. “I’d like to stay with this team,” says Abreu. And I’m going to do all in my power to make this team good as soon as possible.”
Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves Sign Fernando Salas, Lane Adams]]> 2018-07-17T00:49:18Z 2018-07-17T00:49:18Z The Braves have signed reliever Fernando Salas and outfielder Lane Adams to minor-league deals, according to an announcement by the club’s top affiliate. Both players are reporting to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Salas has turned in quite a few solid MLB innings over the years and will at least be a worthwhile depth asset to have on hand. The 33-year-old righty spent most of the early portion of this season with the Diamondbacks, allowing twenty earned runs in forty frames with 6.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. He has engineered mid-season turnarounds in each of the past two seasons, but if he hopes to pull that feat off once again he’ll first have to earn a call-up.

As for Adams, he opened the year with the Braves. He hit well for the club at the MLB level over the past two seasons, but received limited action and was cut loose when roster pressures arose earlier this season. Adams ended up struggling quite a bit upon landing at Triple-A with the Cubs, so he’ll hope to get back in a groove back with the Atlanta organization.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Braves GM Anthopoulos On Payroll, Rentals, Pitching Staff]]> 2018-07-16T18:44:34Z 2018-07-16T18:44:34Z Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos recently sat down with Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for an extensive Q&A about a team that has exceeded even the most optimistic expectations and finds itself in the thick of a division race (Q&A Part 1, Part 2). Braves fans in particular will want to check out the full conversation, as Anthopoulos discusses some front office processes, the team’s minor league depth and quite a few other interesting topics at length.

With an eye toward the looming non-waiver trade deadline, though, Anthopoulos sheds a bit of light on how the Braves could operate moving forward. Perhaps most notably, Anthopoulos describes a recent report suggesting that the Braves are close to their payroll maximum to be inaccurate. Anthopoulos recalls the manner in which he was handcuffed by financial constraints with the Blue Jays at the 2014 deadline, which prompted him to resist some late-offseason spending in order to keep some money set aside for summer moves in 2015. The 2018 season in Atlanta seems to be a similar case.

“So we’ve set some money aside from a big-league payroll standpoint, so we definitely have (it) for this moment,” said the GM of his team’s current financial outlook. “…[W]e saved some money and we have that available, and now – as the byproduct of the results – attendance is up, everything is up, the organization is doing much better.” Anthopoulos added that he’s already had conversations about the team’s spending capacity with chairman Terry McGuirk. Perhaps most notably, Anthopoulos plainly states that there is “no single player” the Braves cannot afford to add.

That said, he’s also careful to emphasize that that ability to spend doesn’t mean Braves fans should be counting the days to a splashy addition. Anthopoulos estimated that “90 percent” of the players available in trades at present are of the rental variety and expressed some notable reluctance about the possibility of acquiring such players.

“There’s a lot of pain that has gone into putting together this young talent,” Anthopoulos continued. “We’re not ready to throw that all away just because of one season. That said, I do think we owe it to the players and the fan base and the organization to make this team better, one way or another.”

Asked specifically about whether he has the depth of pitching to make it to the postseason, Anthopoulos confidently stated that the Braves do indeed have the necessary arms. Luiz Gohara is back in the Triple-A rotation and will be an option to start if need, and Max Fried is on the mend from the blister issues that are presently hampering him. Braves fans will be heartened to see Anthopoulos speak extremely favorably of top prospect Kolby Allard, noting that expects the lefty to get a chance down the line (though he understandably declined to specify precisely when).

As for the relief corps, the Braves are “definitely trying to add to that group,” according to Anthopoulos. While he characterizes the current group as one that could get the Braves to October, he also acknowledges that getting to the postseason and winning in the postseason when other teams can more aggressively leverage their top relievers (due to built-in off days in the schedule) are separate matters. “On the one hand, in October you don’t need as much depth,” said Anthopoulos. “You need three, four reliable guys. On the other, it’s a very young and inexperienced bullpen.” That, it seems, would suggest that the Braves are open to adding, if not actively striving to add a more experienced late-inning option to the mix — a need that could be viewed as even more pressing with Arodys Vizcaino now on the DL for shoulder inflammation for a second time.

Anthopoulos and Bradley also talk about his expectations for the team heading into the offseason, his thoughts on the rest of the NL East, the possibility of some of his young players hitting a wall as the season wears on and the fact that he is very cognizant of the fact that his team’s play is placing him under pressure as a first-year GM in a new organization.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 7/16/18]]> 2018-07-16T13:51:04Z 2018-07-16T13:51:04Z We’ll track Monday’s minor moves from around the game here…

  • The Braves’ Triple-A affiliate announced yesterday that veteran catcher Rob Brantly has been released, with prospect Alex Jackson moving up from Double-A Mississippi to Triple-A Gwinnett in his place. Brantly, 29, has had an ugly season in Triple-A this year, hitting at just a .218/.254/.293 clip through 201 plate appearances. He had an excellent year between the Triple-A affiliates for the Reds and White Sox last season and even hit .290/.389/.516 in 36 big league plate appearances with the White Sox, but that success hasn’t carried over to the 2018 campaign. Jackson hasn’t exactly had a productive season, either, as he’s posted a woeful .200/.282/.329 and struck out in 31 percent of his 252 plate appearances.
Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Anthopoulos Discusses Deadline Plans]]> 2018-07-16T03:47:47Z 2018-07-16T03:47:47Z
  • The Nationals are also one of the many teams interested in Rays starter Nathan Eovaldi, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes.  Washington won’t necessarily have any room in the rotation once assuming Stephen Strasburg returns from the DL when expected, though Eovaldi could conceivably replace Jeremy Hellickson or the struggling Tanner Roark.  The Yankees, Brewers, and Braves have also been linked to Eovaldi, and scouts from at least five other teams have been watching his recent outings.
  • Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos discussed his team’s trade deadline approach with Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in the first part of a wide-ranging interview (the second part will be published on Monday).  While the Braves have a deep farm system, the GM aren’t keen on dealing from that prospect depth for players only under contract through 2018.  “We would prefer not to go after rentals unless the acquisition cost just makes so much sense for us,” Anthopoulos said.  “There’s a lot of pain that has gone into putting together this young talent.  We’re not ready to throw that all away just because of one season.  That said, I do think we owe it to the players and the fan base and the organization to make this team better, one way or another.”  Anthopoulos said that the trade market is currently flooded with teams shopping their pending free agents, estimating that “90 percent of the players that are actively available right now are rental players.”
  • The Braves will be able to afford some upgrades at the deadline, as Anthopoulos said that the team set aside some payroll space before the season should some more spending be required midway through the year.  That original total has now increased since team revenues have also risen as a result of the Braves’ success.  “I’ve been given very specific instructions, and I can shop in any aisle. I can at least have a conversation. I can tell you right now in all the discussions and all the players we’ve discussed, there’s no single player that we can’t afford,” Anthopoulos said.  “Where ultimately we’d have an (in-house) discussion is if we’re looking at adding three or four big-league guys at big contracts. That’s when maybe the numbers start to add up and we’d have to evaluate it. But one or two guys right now would not be a problem at all.”
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox, Braves Interested In Mike Moustakas]]> 2018-07-16T00:10:56Z 2018-07-16T00:10:07Z 7:10pm: The Royals may have to wait until Manny Machado is traded before fully pursuing a Moustakas deal, according to’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter link).  Up to seven teams have been rumored to be involved in the Machado talks, and with some suitors already reportedly falling out of the running, it stands to reason that some of these teams could pivot to Moustakas.  The Braves, for instance, are also one of the clubs in on Machado.

    4:00pm: The Royals are “more likely than not” to trade third baseman Mike Moustakas this month, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, who lists the Red Sox and Braves as a pair of playoff contenders interested in acquiring him.

    The Red Sox already boast the majors’ best record (68-30) and a 4 1/2-game lead in the AL East, even though they haven’t gotten great production from third baseman Rafael Devers. But the 21-year-old still has plenty of time to turn into a foundational piece for the Red Sox, and it may behoove them to find an upgrade in the meantime. With Boston pushing for its fourth World Series title since 2004, the lefty-swinging Moustakas would seemingly qualify, having slashed .250/.306/.469 with 19 home runs in 386 plate appearances, easily beating out Devers’ numbers (.241/.292/.424 with 14 HRs in 367 PAs). Of course, Moustakas’ production also hasn’t been all-world, as he has logged a 106 wRC+ to Devers’ 87 and has dropped off precipitously since a red-hot April.

    The Braves haven’t come close to matching the Red Sox’s excellence this season, but they’re still 52-42 – in possession of a National League wild-card spot and within half a game of the NL East-leading Phillies. Their starting third baseman, Johan Camargo, has actually outdone Moustakas by wRC+ (109), having batted .247/.346/.426 with nine homers in 263 PAs. The switch-hitting Camargo is capable of playing shortstop, however, and could perhaps usurp the starting role from the light-hitting, righty-swinging Dansby Swanson or at least platoon with him.

    After failing to encounter much interest in free agency last winter, the 29-year-old Moustakas wouldn’t represent a long-term acquisition for any club. Moustakas is owed the rest of a $5.5MM salary this season, and then his employer will have to decide whether to exercise a $15MM mutual option for 2019 or pay him a $1MM buyout.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Pitching Notes: Bauer, Slegers, McCarthy, Cody]]> 2018-07-15T11:45:34Z 2018-07-15T03:59:29Z In a recent podcast with Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer suggested he’d only take one-year deals for the remainder of his career (partially due to the high stakes of a bet with a childhood friend). Although that seems radical and somewhat irresponsible on the surface, Eno Sarris dives into the subject in a piece for The Athletic and discovers that maybe the idea isn’t really all that bad. Although Bauer would be giving up a lot of security, he’d likely earn a significant bump in average annual value. Bauer has never had health issues, so in his case the health risks might not be as severe as other players seeking long-term deals to lock up the most total dollars possible. All in all, Sarris comes to the conclusion that the contract strategy could feasibly benefit Bauer in the long run.

    Here are some other pitcher-related notes from around baseball…

    • The Twins placed righty Aaron Slegers on the disabled list today with shoulder inflammation, and plan to recall rookie Fernando Romero to make a start in his stead. Slegers had a rough go of it in three appearances (two starts) this season, allowing eight earned runs in 12 2/3 innings with just five strikeouts. Romero, on the other hand, has made ten starts this season and turned in a reasonable performance thus far ( 4.38 ERA).
    • Braves right-hander Brandon McCarthy is rehabbing his knee injury, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, but oddly enough he’s doing it at his home in Arizona with his own physical therapist. Obviously that’s far from the norm at this point in the season, particularly given Atlanta’s status as a contending team in the NL East. McCarthy came to Atlanta in a financially-motivated trade with the Dodgers, but has barely managed to exceed five innings per start in his tenure with the Braves thus far, and has posted an ugly 4.92 ERA.
    • Another Rangers prospect has gone down with the dreaded ulnar collateral ligament injury, and will require Tommy John surgery, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. This time, it’s right-hander Kyle Cody, who had been attempting rest and rehab as an alternative to surgery. Cody was shut down for an extended period after experiencing issues during spring training; he’ll now go under the knife and likely be out until the beginning of 2020. The towering 6’7″ hurler was a sixth-round pick of the Rangers back in 2016.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Braves Scouting Nathan Eovaldi]]> 2018-07-14T21:59:35Z 2018-07-14T21:59:35Z While it’s unclear if either Skaggs or Heaney will hit the block, Rays righty Nathan Eovaldi will likely end up on the move in the next couple weeks. The Yankees, with whom he pitched from 2015-16, have “closely” watched Eovaldi of late, as have the Brewers and Braves (among others), Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports. Eovaldi’s most recent start was a nightmare, as he allowed eight earned runs on nine hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings against Minnesota on Friday. In the process, his season ERA climbed from 3.35 to 4.59 (with a 4.45 FIP) over 51 innings.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Braves Place Arodys Vizcaino On DL]]> 2018-07-14T19:42:50Z 2018-07-14T19:30:02Z For the second time since last month, Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino is headed to the 10-day disabled list because of right shoulder issues (inflammation, to be exact). The team announced the move, adding that it has reinstated fellow reliever Peter Moylan from the 10-day DL.

    Vizcaino previously landed on the DL on June 24 (retroactive to June 21), but he was able to return quickly. However, Vizcaino has dealt with shoulder soreness throughout the year, so it stands to reason the contending Braves will be extra cautious this time around. His loss will once again be a blow to the Braves’ bullpen, as he has managed a terrific 1.65 ERA while converting 15 of 17 save opportunities in 32 2/3 innings this season.

    Vizcaino’s absence should mean more save opportunities for A.J. Minter, who has converted on all four tries this season, and could further press general manager Alex Anthopoulos to beef up the Braves’ bullpen this month. With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaching, Atlanta’s known to be on the lookout for relief help, though it’s reluctant to give up any prospects for rentals. The Braves entered Saturday at 51-41, in control of a wild-card spot by half a game but 1 1/2 behind the NL East-leading Phillies.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Braves "Strictly On The Fringes" Of Manny Machado Derby]]> 2018-07-14T16:07:11Z 2018-07-14T15:24:03Z The Braves have reportedly made an offer for Orioles superstar Manny Machado, but it doesn’t appear the shortstop will end up in Atlanta prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The Braves “are strictly on the fringes” of the Machado sweepstakes, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, who adds that they’re more concerned about upgrading their rotation.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Braves Reluctant To Part With Prospects For Rentals]]> 2018-07-13T14:14:38Z 2018-07-13T03:48:32Z
  • Though the Braves have a number of wants on the trade market — specifically upgrades to the pitching staff — they’re reluctant to trade any prospects of note for a rental piece, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic within his latest notes column (subscription required). Rosenthal also notes that a right-handed-hitting center field option to pair with Ender Inciarte would be appealing, though Inciarte’s glovework is so good that it lessens the blow of his 2018 struggles against lefties.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Manny Machado Trade Rumors: Thursday]]> 2018-07-12T22:38:15Z 2018-07-12T22:38:15Z The number of rumors surrounding Manny Machado seems to increase by the day, with the Yankees now not only joining a previously reported field of seven teams, but moving toward the forefront of the teams most prominently linked to Machado. The Dodgers, Brewers, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Braves, Indians, Cubs and Red Sox have all been at the very least linked to Machado — though Boston’s interest has been heavily downplayed, and the same is largely true of the Cubs. We’ll track today’s Machado chatter here until more significant developments arise…

    • The Dodgers, Brewers and Yankees have “separated themselves from the pack” with their current offers to the Orioles, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, though he notes that there’s no clear favorite among those three just yet. That’s largely a continuation, then, of previous rumblings surrounding Machado. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported this weekend that the Dodgers and Brewers were the two most aggressive clubs in pursuit, and Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported last night that the Yankees had emerged with a “strong” offer — though Roch Kubatko of added the important context that New York had yet to offer up pitching prospect Justus Sheffield.
    • Not only has Sheffield not been included in an offer to date, he’s been effectively made off limits entirely, per Jim Bowden of The Athletic and MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link). The Orioles, Bowden hears, “have been told [Sheffield] will not be included in any potential deal” for Machado. Milwaukee, Los Angeles and Philadelphia all remain in the mix for Machado, he adds, noting that offers are continually improving.
    • Meanwhile, Heyman writes in his latest notes column that the D-backs are definitely interested in Machado, but there’s a belief that they may ultimately end up prioritizing pitching upgrades. Unlike the top three teams linked to Machado, the Diamondbacks have a fairly thin farm system, so perhaps there’s some concern that there’ll be difficulty in adding both Machado and a meaningful upgrade to the pitching staff — though that’s just my own speculation.
    • Buster Olney and Keith Law of ESPN talk extensively about the Machado rumor mill on today’s Baseball Tonight podcast (audio link, with Machado talk beginning around 15:20). Both suggest Sheffield to be too steep a price to pay, with Law stating that he’d be “floored” to see Sheffield moved in nearly any trade — let alone for a rental — given his proximity to the Majors and the potential to develop into a viable No. 2 starter. Olney questions how strongly the Yankees are pursuing Machado, noting that it only helps the Orioles for those rumors to circulate and put pressure on other clubs. Ultimately, both feel it to be likelier that Machado lands with an NL club — with both the Dodgers and Brewers standing out as plausible destinations.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Braves Release Mauricio Cabrera]]> 2018-07-11T21:00:06Z 2018-07-11T20:59:51Z The Braves have released right-hander Mauricio Cabrera from the organization, tweets David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    Cabrera, 24, made a big impression with the 2016 Braves, tossing 38 1/3 innings of 2.82 ERA ball and showing a blistering fastball that averaged 100.1 mph and would routinely touch 102 mph. However, Cabrera didn’t post the strikeout rates one might expect to go along with that heat, averaging just 7.5 K/9 with a solid but not overpowering 11.7 swinging-strike rate. He also walked 19 batters in those 38 1/3 frames (4.5 BB/9), hit another and threw a pair of wild pitches.

    Shaky control and lack of missed bats weren’t necessarily catastrophic red flags considering the fact that Cabrera was a 22-year-old rookie. But Cabrera had some elbow soreness in Spring Training the following season, and his control in the minors in 2017 proved to be disastrous. Cabrera didn’t return to the Majors last season and ultimately walked 46 batters in 45 innings across four minor league levels.

    Things haven’t improved for Cabrera in 2018. To the contrary, his startling inability to locate the ball has worsened, as he’s tossed 31 innings but yielded a staggering 41 walks while spending the entire season in Class-A Advanced.

    Given Cabrera’s youth and velocity, it’s certainly possible that other clubs will have interest in trying to chip away at the young flamethrower’s control issues. Then again, Cabrera also went unclaimed on waivers back in Spring Training, and that was before he averaged nearly 12 walks per nine innings pitched in A-ball this season. Given the alarming extent of his control issues, it’s not surprising to see the Braves move on from the once-promising right-hander.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[7 Teams Have Made Offers For Manny Machado]]> 2018-07-08T18:21:19Z 2018-07-08T17:38:10Z SUNDAY: The Dodgers and Brewers are at the forefront of the Machado derby, and the Indians are also “in the mix,” Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets.

    SATURDAY: It’s possible Manny Machado’s tenure with the Orioles will come to an end as early as this weekend, according to the Baltimore Sun’s Eduardo A. Encina, who reports that seven teams have made offers for the soon-to-be free agent. The Dodgers have put forth the most enticing proposal, Encina hears, with the Diamondbacks, Brewers, Phillies, Braves, Indians and Cubs (in that order) coming in behind them. But the offers are “very close” in value, per Encina, so any of those other six clubs could leapfrog Los Angeles to land Machado prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

    Roch Kubatko of passes along slightly different information than Encina, suggesting the Indians are currently in last place among the previously mentioned seven teams in the race for Machado. Cleveland has made an offer, Kubatko reports, but a source tells him other clubs are “more active” in the sweepstakes. Interest in Machado goes beyond the seven teams mentioned, Kubatko adds, as several others have at least “checked in” on him.

    It “seems unlikely” Baltimore will deal Machado this weekend, Encina writes, but it’s all but guaranteed to happen sometime this month. After all, the Orioles (24-64) own the majors’ worst record, and they’ll either have to trade the 26-year-old Machado in the next three-plus weeks or watch him leave for draft-pick compensation in free agency. The superstar shortstop/third baseman is sure to reel in one of the richest contracts in the history of the sport once he hits the open market, and he has helped his future earning power by batting a healthy .310/.381/.560 with 21 home runs and nearly as many walks (40) as strikeouts (50) in 375 plate appearances this season.

    If the Dodgers are the team that upgrades at short with Machado this summer, it may come at the expense of either outfield prospect Alex Verdugo or young pitcher Yadier Alvarez. The Orioles have shown interest in both of those farmhands – two of the finest talents in the minors – though the Dodgers’ offers so far have not included either player, Encina relays, and Kubatko writes that LA has not made Verdugo available. Considering their wealth of offensive talent, it’s arguable the Dodgers won’t even need Machado as they seek a sixth straight National League West title and a second consecutive NL pennant. But acquiring him would still be a boon to them and a blow to the rival Diamondbacks, who lead LA by one game in the NL West and haven’t gotten high-end production from their shortstops this year.

    Like the D-backs, none of the Brewers, Phillies or Braves have fared well at short. The Indians and Cubs have, on the other hand. But Machado could be a third base solution for the Indians, who have the great Francisco Lindor at short and would be able to shift fellow superstar Jose Ramirez from the hot corner to second base to make room for Machado. In doing so, the Tribe would presumably relegate struggling second baseman Jason Kipnis to a bench role. The Cubs, meanwhile, have an impressive-looking setup at second (Javier Baez), short (Addison Russell) and third (the currently injured Kris Bryant), so it’s unclear where Machado would fit, though there has long been speculation about Russell going to Baltimore in a deal. However, Russell is under affordable control through 2020 and would be a lot to give up for a rental player – albeit one who’d serve as an upgrade for a Chicago team which trails NL Central-leading Milwaukee by 1 1/2 games.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves Fail To Reach Agreement With First-Round Pick Carter Stewart]]> 2018-07-10T03:11:08Z 2018-07-08T02:32:48Z JULY 7: The “sense” is that Stewart will attend a junior college in Florida, not Mississippi State, Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs reports on Twitter. If that happens, Stewart will be eligible for next year’s draft, McDaniel adds.

    JULY 6: The Braves and first-round draft choice Carter Stewart failed to put pen to paper in advance of today’s 5pm EST deadline, Jon Heyman of Fancred was first to tweet.

    Stewart, a Florida high-schooler, entered the draft graded as one of the top eligible hurlers. He had dealt with a wrist injury late in the season, though it was not something that led to any expectations of a ding in his draft stock. Indeed, it seemed there was not much to worry about when the Braves took Stewart eighth overall.

    Unfortunately, it seems that a closer look at the medicals has enhanced the concerns for the Atlanta organization.’s Mark Bowman tweeted that it was a “definite concern” for the Braves, noting that player and team never really were close on numbers entering the final signing day.

    The eighth overall pick came with a $4,980,700 allocation. The Braves will only get a compensatory pick next year — at one slot lower than the existing selection (#9) — if they offered Stewart at least 40% of the slot value (i.e., $1,992,280).

    The Braves kept their offer “a lot closer to the 40% threshold than to pick value,” according to’s Jim Callis (Twitter link), which explains why a deal did not come together. But that also indicates that enough cash was put on the table to ensure that the club will get another top-ten selection next year. Stewart will presumably honor his commitment to Mississippi State, though there’s no clear indication yet as to his immediate future.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Braves Recently Scouted Nathan Eovaldi's Start]]> 2018-07-05T02:50:40Z 2018-07-05T02:50:40Z
  • Evaluators from the Red Sox, Phillies, Cubs, and Braves were on hand to watch Nathan Eovaldi’s Monday start for the Rays,’s Bill Chastain writes.  Of course, several other players on the Rays or Marlins were also likely under observation, though Eovaldi represents an interesting low-cost option for teams in need of rotation help — of the teams listed, only the Cubs wouldn’t appear to be in need of starting pitching depth.  After missing all of 2017 recovering from Tommy John surgery and then missing time due to minor elbow surgery and a rib muscle strain at the beginning of this season, Eovaldi has returned to post a 3.92 ERA, 49.6% grounder rate, 7.6 K/9, and a minuscule 1.3 BB/9 rate over his first 41 1/3 frames.  He has received some significant help in the form of a .211 BABIP, a 79.6% strand rate and a .285 wOBA that is well under his .321 xwOBA, though ERA indicators (4.75 FIP, 3.59 xFIP, 3.57 SIERA) are largely in line with his real-world ERA.  Eovaldi is also averaging 97mph on his fastball.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves Have Some Interest In Machado, Focused On Relievers]]> 2018-07-04T20:02:34Z 2018-07-04T19:50:54Z
  • Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is said to be drawing wide and increasingly active interest from a variety of rival organizations. That’s no surprise, as he’s a mid-prime rental asset of rare ability. The Diamondbacks have held “consistent” talks with the Baltimore organization, per’s Jon Morosi (Twitter links), which largely confirms the steady stream of reports we’ve seen on Arizona’s engagement. Morosi adds that the O’s are interested in young D-Backs prospect Jon Duplantier, whose current injury has “complicated” efforts to put together a package that suits both teams. It’s hard to gauge to what extent Duplantier’s status will impact the broader Machado situation, in no small part because it is not apparent whether he’s a player the Snakes would be willing to part with for a rental. Meanwhile, the Braves do have some interest in Machado, Morosi also tweets, but are mostly exploring the market for “controllable relievers” at the moment. Again, that dovetails with what we’ve heard out of Atlanta in recent weeks.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Peter Bourjos Elects Free Agency]]> 2018-07-03T03:40:48Z 2018-07-03T03:40:48Z Outfielder Peter Bourjos has elected free agency, per the transactions page. He had recently been designated for assignment and evidently cleared waivers.

    Bourjos, 31, has been on and off the MLB roster in Atlanta, providing the team with a .205/.239/.364 batting line over 47 total plate appearances. He has been quite a bit more productive at Triple-A this year, where he carries a .277/.352/.511 slash in 105 trips to the plate.

    It seems that Bourjos will at least look around for another opportunity. But he already did so once earlier in the season and ended up returning to the Braves on a minor-league deal. That again seems a plausible, but by no means certain, outcome.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Braves Select Michael Reed, Place Peter Moylan On DL]]> 2018-07-02T18:53:30Z 2018-07-02T18:46:54Z The Braves announced a series of roster moves Monday, selecting the contract of outfielder Michael Reed from Triple-A Gwinnett and optioning right-hander Matt Wisler to Gwinnett as well. Atlanta also placed Peter Moylan on the 10-day DL due to a right forearm strain and recalled righty Evan Phillips from Gwinnett in his place.

    It’ll be the first MLB action for Reed, 25, since a brief look with the Brewers in 2015-16. He joined the Atlanta organization this past offseason and has turned plenty of heads since doing so, batting a combined .337/.460/.535 with nine homers and 21 doubles in an even 300 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A. Reed’s work in Gwinnett has been especially impressive, as he’s raked at a .369/.480/.592 pace.

    While the power he’s shown is encouraging, Reed has somehow managed to maintain an unfathomable .532 BABIP through his 125 plate appearances in Gwinnett — a substantial step forward from the still-unsustainable .426 mark he displayed in 175 PAs in Double-A. Given those figures and the fact that he’s whiffed at a 29 percent clip in Triple-A this season, there’s reason to temper expectations. That said, he also presents a right-handed-hitting complement to outfielders Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis — and one who can capably handle all three outfield spots for that matter.

    Moylan, 38, was enjoying a strong season up through mid-June, but he’s been clobbered for seven earned runs on eight hits (three homers) and four walks with just two strikeouts in his past 4 2/3 innings — a span of eight appearances. The Aussie sidearmer is typically deadly against right-handed opponents, but righties have had no trouble with him in 2018, hitting .315/.405/.493 through 86 plate appearances. It’s not clear at this time how long Moylan is expected to be sidelined, though forearm strains come with a fairly ominous connotation.

    In Moylan’s place, Phillips will get his first look at the big league level. While the Braves technically selected his contract for the first time in June, he was optioned back to Triple-A before ever appearing in a Major League game. He’s been superb in Gwinnett so far this season, averaging 13.5 strikeouts against 3.3 walks per nine innings pitched, en route to a 2.09 ERA through 38 2/3 frames out of the ’pen.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Notable International Prospect Signings]]> 2018-07-02T17:53:44Z 2018-07-02T16:12:59Z With the 2018-19 international signing period kicking off today, there will be dozens of six- and seven-figure bonuses handed out to teenage prospects, primarily out of Latin America, filtering in throughout the day today. Many of these have been in the works for quite some time, as is reflected by the fact that most of the top players’ destinations and signing bonuses have been previously reported/projected (and by the fact that the top agreements will all be reported in one swift avalanche today).

    We’ll keep track of the notable National League signings here and the notable American League signings in a separate post. Note that you can read up on each of these players with the dedicated international coverage available from Ben Badler of Baseball America (subscription required), Jesse Sanchez of and Kiley McDaniel & Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs, each of whom has scouting info on the top echelon of international amateurs. Badler is also tracking the all of the signings from all 30 teams.

    Onto some of the more notable signings…

    Read more

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Olney: Braves Are Buyers]]> 2018-07-01T16:08:02Z 2018-07-01T16:07:50Z
  • The Red Sox and Braves are among other contenders that could be in the market for bullpen help, according to Olney. In Boston’s case, Olney notes that it may take on a high-priced reliever from another team in a salary dump, thanks to its thin farm system. The Braves, meanwhile, don’t have the spending ability of clubs like the Red Sox and division-rival Phillies, but they are set to act as buyers as they seek their first playoff berth since 2013. Philadelphia, which hasn’t clinched a playoff berth since 2011, will also buy, Olney relays. Entering Sunday, the Braves (47-34) lead the Phillies (44-37) by three games for the NL East lead, but the latter is in possession of a wild-card spot at the moment.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Braves Designate Peter Bourjos For Assignment]]> 2018-06-30T15:12:40Z 2018-06-30T14:51:32Z The Braves have designated outfielder Peter Bourjos for assignment, the team announced on Twitter.  In a corresponding move, southpaw Max Fried has been called up from Triple-A to start tonight’s game against the Cardinals.

    Signed to a minor league contract near the end of Spring Training, Bourjos was released by the Braves at the end of April and then quickly re-signed to a new minors deal.  The veteran outfielder hasn’t provided much at the plate (.205/.239/.364 slash line in 47 PA), though his primary role in Atlanta has been serving as a late-game defensive replacement, usually in left field.

    With Ronald Acuna now back from the disabled list and stepping back into the starting left field role, Bourjos became expendable, though the Braves are likely hoping that he can slip from waivers and remain in the organization as center field depth.  Acuna and backups Danny Santana and Charlie Culberson are all imperfect fill-ins behind everyday center fielder Ender Inciarte, while Bourjos has long been a capable-to-very good defender throughout his career.

    This is the third time Fried has been promoted to the MLB roster this season, and the left-hander has contributed a 4.09 ERA and 13 strikeouts (plus a troubling seven walks) over 11 innings of work.  He has yet to receive an extended look at the big league level either this year or after making his Major League debut in 2017, though Fried could get more of an opportunity now that Brandon McCarthy and Mike Soroka are both on the disabled list.  Fried was ranked as a top-100 prospect by Baseball America (which had him 72nd) and (83rd) prior to the season.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Braves Activate Ronald Acuna, Place Brandon McCarthy On DL]]> 2018-06-28T16:42:10Z 2018-06-28T16:42:10Z The Braves announced Thursday that they’ve activated Ronald Acuna Jr. from the disabled list and placed veteran right-hander Brandon McCarthy on the 10-day DL due to tendinitis in his right knee. Atlanta also optioned righty Wes Parsons back to Triple-A Gwinnett just a day after he had his contract selected and recalled righty Matt Wisler from Gwinnett.

    Acuna, 20, has been out since May 28 due to a knee contusion and a mild sprain of his left ACL, but he figures to return to an everyday role in left field, joining Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis in a productive Braves outfield. The game’s consensus top prospect to open the season, Acuna did nothing to suggest he wasn’t deserving of such high praise in his first taste of the Majors, hitting .265/.326/.453 with five homers and seven doubles through 129 plate appearances in spite of his youth.

    McCarthy, soon to be 35, has had his share of struggles in Atlanta this year, compiling a 4.92 ERA with 7.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 1.72 HR/9 and a 48 percent ground-ball rate. To McCarthy’s credit, most of the damage done against him came in a pair of brutal starts at the beginning of May, when he yielded 14 runs over a combined 8 1/3 innings. The righty pitched quite well in the month of April and, since that ugly pair of consecutive outings in May, has worked to a respectable 4.23 ERA with a pristine 35-to-6 K/BB ratio in 38 1/3 frames.

    [Related: Atlanta Braves depth chart]

    With McCarthy going on the shelf and Mike Soroka now out until at least late August, the Braves’ rotation consists of Sean Newcomb, Mike Foltynewicz, Julio Teheran and Anibal Sanchez. Wisler, Max Fried, Luiz Gohara and Lucas Sims are among the options already on the 40-man roster that could step up and make some starts in lieu of McCarthy.

    At 45-34, the Braves still hold the the lead of the NL East by two and a half games despite the fact that their play has slipped a bit as of late. Atlanta has played at a .500 clip this month and is 5-5 over its past 10 games, but neither the Nationals nor the Phillies have made up any substantial ground in the division during that time.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves Select Contract Of Wes Parsons, Move Mike Soroka To 60-Day DL]]> 2018-06-27T15:11:57Z 2018-06-27T14:46:38Z 10:04am: To create 40-man space, the Braves moved young righty Mike Soroka to the 60-day disabled list. That means he’ll be on the shelf for quite some time, as he only went on the DL last Friday.

    Clearly, the Atlanta organization anticipated that it would need to give Soroka’s ailing shoulder a lengthy rest. He already sat for a month before inflammation again cropped up, and this time he’ll miss at least twice that time.

    The prized hurler will first be eligible to return to action on August 21st. It is not yet known whether the team anticipates that Soroka will be physically ready to return at that time.

    9:46am: The Braves will select the contract of righty Wes Parsons today,’s Mark Bowman was among those to report (Twitter links). It is not yet known how the organization will clear a 40-man spot. To create space on the active roster, though, the Braves will option righty Matt Wisler.

    Parsons, now 25, originally joined the organization as an undrafted free agent. He has climbed the ladder steadily ever since, but really emerged last year at the Double-A level. In 103 total innings there, over ten starts and 16 relief appearances, Parsons worked to a 2.71 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 as well as a 54.2% groundball rate.

    The success has continued into the 2018 campaign, with Parsons functioning almost exclusively as a starter. He has thrown 64 1/3 frames, split about evenly between Double-A and Triple-A, with a cumulative 2.10 ERA and peripherals that line up with his 2017 showing.

    It seems likely that Parsons will contribute to the relief corps out of the gates. He may not be up for long, depending upon how the roster needs shake out. Now that he’s on the 40-man, though, Parsons could certainly be called upon at any moment — even in the rotation, perhaps, if that proves necessary.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Braves Interested In Adrian Beltre]]> 2018-06-25T16:18:14Z 2018-06-25T03:37:43Z
  • Also from Cafardo, he adds the Red Sox and Braves to the list of teams with some interest in veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre.  With Rafael Devers on Boston’s big league roster and Braves top prospect Austin Riley looming at Triple-A, both teams could make sense for a short-term upgrade like Beltre, who is only signed through this season.  While Beltre seems like a natural trade chip for a Rangers team that is well out of contention, there still remains some speculation as to whether or not Texas will actually move him, as the team heavily values Beltre’s leadership and wants him on the roster in 2019.  Beltre also has no-trade protection via 10-and-5 rights.  Still, the Rangers are at least shopping Beltre (and other players) to gauge trade interest, and it can’t hurt that multiple contenders could be in the market for third base help.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Braves Had Interest In Kelvin Herrera]]> 2018-06-24T23:37:52Z 2018-06-24T23:37:52Z
  • The Braves were one of the teams interested in Kelvin Herrera before the Royals dealt the reliever to the Nationals.  Kansas City simply “saw the Nats as a better match” for a trade, and as Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos implied in a podcast appearance earlier this week, it seems like Atlanta wasn’t willing to meet the Royals’ asking price.  It remains to be seen how this decision could impact the NL East race, as the Braves not only saw Herrera join a division rival, but their own closer (Arodys Vizcaino) on the disabled list today.  Heyman does speculate about one silver lining for the Braves, however, as the fact that they’ve already had some talks with the Royals could help lay groundwork for a Mike Moustakas trade.  Overall, Heyman notes that the Braves would prefer to wait before making any big deals, as the team still isn’t quite sure what will end up being its biggest deadline need.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Braves Place Arodys Vizcaino On DL, Select Evan Phillips, DFA Phil Gosselin]]> 2018-06-25T21:38:55Z 2018-06-24T15:00:23Z The Braves have selected right-handed reliever Evan Phillips from Triple-A Gwinnett, Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. They’ll send closer Arodys Vizcaino to the disabled list (retroactive to June 21) to open up a 25-man spot for Phillips, Burns adds, and designate infielder Phil Gosselin for assignment to create 40-man space, per Mark Bowman of

    Phillips, who joined the Braves as a 17th-round pick in 2015, is set to make his major league debut after opening the season in impressive fashion in the minors. Across 35 innings this season, the 23-year-old has pitched to a 2.31 ERA with 12.86 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and a 50.7 percent groundball rate. Phillips doesn’t rank among the Braves’ top 30 prospects at or their 32 best farmhands at FanGraphs, though FG’s Eric Longenhagen wrote entering 2017 that his three-pitch mix “may work in middle relief.”

    The Braves’ hope is that Phillips will help make up for the loss of Vizcaino, who has dealt with shoulder soreness throughout the season. Thanks in part to that, Vizcaino hasn’t pitched since last Sunday. When he has taken the hill, Vizcaino has continued to show off high-end velocity, helping him to convert 15 of 17 save opportunities and post a 1.82 ERA with 10.01 K/9 and 3.64 BB/9. A.J. Minter and Dan Winkler stand out as the Braves’ best ninth-inning possibilities while Vizcaino’s out, though his shoulder issues could also help push the playoff contenders to acquire veteran relief help prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

    Gosselin, 29, joined the Braves off waivers from the Reds on May 3. It’s his second stint as a member of the Braves, though he hasn’t actually played with the club this season. Gosselin has instead racked up 126 PAs at Gwinnett and hit .236/.325/.364.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Braves Notes: Vizcaino, Tucker]]> 2018-06-24T03:30:45Z 2018-06-24T03:30:26Z
  • Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino is battling right shoulder soreness, which has been a concern throughout the season, according to Mark Bowman of Vizcaino had a cortisone injection this week, per Bowman, and manager Brian Snitker noted that “there are times, he’s going to have to be down just to get him through the year.” Despite the 27-year-old’s shoulder issues, the first-place Braves weren’t interested in ponying up for fellow late-game option Kelvin Herrera, whom the division-rival Nationals acquired from the Royals this week.
  • More on the Braves, who optioned outfielder Preston Tucker to Triple-A on Saturday and recalled right-hander Lucas Sims, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Tucker helped hold the fort down in the outfield before the promotion of now-injured super prospect Ronald Acuna in late April, though the former’s output has fallen off dramatically as the season has progressed. After posting a respectable 105 wRC+ in April, Tucker fell to 76 in May and 42 this month.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves Place Mike Soroka On DL, Select Contract Of Danny Santana]]> 2018-06-22T20:58:50Z 2018-06-22T20:57:45Z 3:57pm: Soroka says that an MRI cleared him of any structural issues, as David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. That’s certainly good news for the team, though presumably a conservative course will still be taken.

    2:10pm: The Braves have sent young righty Mike Soroka back to the 10-day DL, per a club announcement. He’s again dealing with inflammation in his pitching shoulder.

    To replace him on the active roster, the Atlanta organization selected the contract of infielder/outfielder Danny Santana. A 40-man roster spot was opened for Santana by moving righty Jose Ramirez to the 60-day DL.

    Soroka has been quite impressive this year, throwing 25 2/3 innings of 3.51 ERA ball in his first five MLB starts at just twenty years of age. Unfortunately, though, he already missed about a month with a shoulder ailment and is now back on the shelf.

    There’s still no indication that there’s a significant underlying problem at play here, though’s Mark Bowman tweets that Soroka experienced a velocity drop-off in the midst of his last outing. Needless to say, any kind of issues in the shoulder will certainly be handled with ample care by the Braves, who are counting on Soroka to be a major contributor for years to come.

    At this point, we’ll need to await further word before knowing more about Soroka’s outlook. A lengthy absence could certainly impact the team’s plans as the trade deadline approaches. Though rotation depth doesn’t seem to be a particular concern for the Braves at the time being, that can change quickly if injuries or performance issues begin to add up. And an upgrade is always a possibility, too.

    The 27-year-old Santana played a significant role down the stretch last year for the Braves, but was non-tendered after the season. He ended up re-joining the organization on a minors deal.

    Since his eye-popping debut season in 2014, Santana has struggled to hit at the MLB level. He has produced this year at Triple-A, though, launching 11 long balls and carrying a .539 slugging percentage Of course, Santana also maintains a meager .300 on-base percentage and has drawn just eight walks while going down on strikes 57 times.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Braves Acquire Brandon Downes From Royals]]> 2018-06-22T18:58:20Z 2018-06-22T18:58:20Z
  • The Royals’ Double-A affiliate announced yesterday that they’ve traded minor league outfielder Brandon Downes to the Braves. A return wasn’t specified, though presumably there’ll be cash or a player to be named later going back to the Kansas City organization to complete the deal. The 25-year-old Downes was Kansas City’s seventh-round pick in 2014 but entered the 2018 season with just five games played above Class-A Advanced. He’s hitting .198/.284/.365 in 111 PAs between Class-A Advanced and Double-A this season (including a 1-for-4 debut yesterday for Atlanta’s Double-A affiliate. Baseball America rated him as Kansas City’s No. 24 prospect four years ago, praising his solid-average speed and above-average power potential, though Downes has yet to deliver on that upside.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Anthopoulos On Braves’ Deadline Approach]]> 2018-06-21T17:54:22Z 2018-06-21T14:19:08Z Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos had an interesting chat with David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an appearance on the latter’s Truth, Lies & Sacrifice Flies Podcast. It’s essential listening for Braves fans, but we’ll highlight a few notes of broader consequence here.

    On the subject of the upcoming trade deadline, Anthopoulos emphasized that the team is focused less on salary — though that’s certainly still a factor — than on carefully managing its “prospect capital.” As he explained it, particularly with amateur penalties slowing the farm intake and an ongoing need for affordable MLB depth, the front office will be calculated in dispensing with its young talent in trades.

    “There hasn’t been a baseball opportunity that money has stopped us from doing it,” Anthopoulos said. While that statement was made generally, it seems to have particular importance in reference to the division-rival Nationals’ recent acquisition of late-inning reliever Kelvin Herrera from the Royals.

    While he did not really discuss the matter directly, Anthopoulos suggested that the organization knew what it would have taken to land Herrera. Obviously, the Braves decided not to pay it. With over a month left until the deadline and limited flexibility to make additions, it seems the Atlanta brain trust decided to save its chips.

    That certainly seems to be a sensible approach for an organization in the Braves’ position. Beyond the ever-present potential for injuries, a team with so many inexperienced performers arguably faces greater uncertainty from the core of its roster. With only so much willingness to part with long-term assets for short-term gains, it stands to reason that the Braves (like most teams) want to gather as much information as possible before making any significant moves.

    That’s not to say that there’s any indication that the Braves won’t seek to capitalize on their excellent start to the current season. Anthopoulos says he has reminded himself not to “lose sight of … what’s happening before your eyes” when weighing moves, noting that the team has already shifted its thinking to put the focus on winning games now.

    Anthopoulos also emphasized multiple times that he believes the financial assets will be there when they are called for. As he put it: “I believe we will have those dollars available when we think there’s a really impactful move to make.”

    There’s plenty more to unpack from this interview, so you’ll want to listen for yourself. Anthopoulos discussed his approach to his first offseason with the Braves as well as the performances of Dansby Swanson and Nick Markakis. He also gave notable thoughts on the team’s still-uncertain future plans at third base, acknowledging some incoming skepticism about Johan Camargo (as well as newfound cause for optimism) and assessing the status of hot corner prospect Austin Riley.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Braves Likely Working With Limited Funds As Deadline Approaches]]> 2018-06-20T19:59:35Z 2018-06-20T19:59:35Z
  • The Braves didn’t make a strong effort to acquire Kelvin Herrera before he was traded to the division-rival Nationals, tweets David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. While the Atlanta front office liked Herrera’s arm very much, O’Brien notes that assuming his remaining $4.4MM salary (which the Nats were willing to do) would’ve burned through the majority of the funds the team has available to upgrade via trade this summer. That would seem to suggest that the Braves may struggle to land any big-budget players as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches. Certainly, given the team’s place atop the NL East standings, they’ll look to improve to whatever extent possible, but it appears that finances will be a fairly notable factor in any moves the team does make.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Acuna, Folty Nearing Return To Braves]]> 2018-06-20T16:12:52Z 2018-06-20T16:12:23Z
  • The Braves, meanwhile, are hopeful that they’ll get a pair of key players back in the near future. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweeted last night that Ronald Acuna has upped the intensity of his workouts over the past two days and is expected to be cleared to begin what sounds like it’ll be a brief minor league rehab assignment “real soon.” Atlanta is also tentatively planning on activating righty Mike Foltynewicz for Sunday’s start against the Orioles, tweets Mark Bowman of While that’s the organizational hope, however, the team won’t use right-hander Brandon McCarthy in relief until there’s greater certainty about the availability of Foltynewicz, who is on the shelf due to a minor triceps issue. If Foltynewicz is determined unready for Sunday’s outing, then, it seems McCarthy will get the ball in his place.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Braves Sign Luke Jackson, Option Luiz Gohara To Triple-A]]> 2018-06-17T22:20:35Z 2018-06-17T15:26:46Z The Braves have signed right-hander Luke Jackson to a Major League contract, the team announced via Twitter.  Jackson will return to Atlanta’s roster in place of Luiz Gohara, who was optioned to Triple-A.

    Jackson was designated for assignment by the Braves earlier this week, and had elected to become a free agent rather than accept an outright assignment to Triple-A.  That would have been the fourth time in the last six months that Jackson had been outrighted off Atlanta’s 40-man, so now he has a bit of extra security in the form of an MLB deal.  The 26-year-old tossed 50 2/3 innings out of the Braves’ bullpen last season, and has an overall 4.66 ERA, 6.8 K/9, and 1.83 K/BB rate over 56 total IP in a Braves uniform.

    Gohara will head down to Triple-A to get some regular action as a starter, as the Braves are looking to get one of their top young arms back on track after a rough start to the 2018 season.  Gohara was hampered by injuries in Spring Training and in early April, and since being called up in early May, he has made just seven appearances for the team (though he also spent a week on the bereavement list).  Gohara made just one start and otherwise worked as a long reliever, struggling to a 6.89 ERA over 15 2/3 innings of work.

    Acquired as part of a deal with the Mariners in January 2017, Gohara made a rapid rise in his first year in Atlanta’s farm system, going from high-A ball to a September call-up to the big leagues.  His strong performance (2.62 ERA, 10.7 K/9, 3.34 K/BB over 123 2/3 combined minor league IP) put him on the radar as a big prospect in not just the Braves’ system, but in the minor leagues as a whole.  Gohara began to emerge on top-100 prospect rankings last summer, and Baseball America considered him to be the 23rd-best minor league in baseball in their pre-2018 prospect listings.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Braves Place Mike Foltynewicz on 10-Day DL, Reinstate Julio Teheran]]> 2018-06-16T21:12:50Z 2018-06-16T20:52:58Z The Braves have placed right-hander Mike Foltynewicz on the 10-day disabled list with right triceps tightness, retroactive to June 13th. In a corresponding move, they’ve activated fellow righty Julio Teheran from the disabled list, who is scheduled to start tomorrow’s game.

    The 26-year-old Foltynewicz has been a revelation this season, pitching to a pristine 2.16 ERA across 79 innings so far. He’s managed to strike out 10.71 batters thanks in part to a fastball that averages a whopping 97 miles per hour. That mark trails only Luis Severino in all of MLB. Foltynewicz has taken his game to a new level in June, having allowed just two earned runs across his three starts this month while striking out 25 batters. That includes a complete game shutout against the Nationals on June 1st.

    Teheran has posted a career-high 5.59 FIP so far this season due in part to diminished velocity, a spike in his already-high walk rate, and a catastrophic 39% hard contact allowed. That last mark is the 20th-highest among all qualified major league starters. Teheran’s career has been a roller coaster of highs and lows, but he’ll hope he can turn his season around after a brief stint on the DL for a thumb injury.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Donaldson, Blue Jays, Ravin, May, Goody]]> 2018-06-16T14:09:17Z 2018-06-16T14:09:17Z Former AL MVP Josh Donaldson is expected to miss “at least a few more days” before getting a chance to return to the Blue Jays’ lineup. A report from Gregor Chisholm of indicates that Donaldson still hasn’t felt comfortable running at full speed, or as manager John Gibbons puts it, “he still couldn’t cut it loose,” during a series of running drills on Thursday. The third baseman has been out since May 28th with a sore calf muscle. Coupled with the shoulder injury he dealt with earlier this season, one has to wonder just how much these injury concerns will impact the 32-year-old Donaldson’s free agent stock headed into the 2018-2019 offseason. It’s not as though he’s produced while on the field, either: his .234/.333/.423 slash line (despite a .303 BABIP) is a far cry from his typical production, while his strikeout rate sits at a career-high 27.7%.

    As for the Blue Jays, they’re at least likely to get Marcus Stroman and Steve Pearce back in the near future, as both are currently embarking on rehab assignments in the minor leagues.

    Let’s take a look at some other injury situations around baseball…

    • Nate Rowan, beat reporter for the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate, tweets that Trevor May is headed to the DL with shoulder inflammation. The move is retroactive to June 14th. May’s only recently made his way back from Tommy John surgery, a recovery he wrote about for MLBTR; he was optioned to Triple-A immediately following his activation. There’s no word yet on the severity of the shoulder situation or how long May is expected to be out. In his most recent major league action, May pitched to a 5.27 ERA across 44 relief appearances for the Twins.
    • Another AL Central reliever received unfortunate news today as well. Nick Goody of the Indians visited Dr. James Andrews after feeling soreness during his throwing program. The diagnosis remains elbow hyperextension and posterior elbow inflammation, and though that’s far from the worst-case scenario, he’ll be shut down for at least three weeks after receiving a PRP injection. It’s bad news for an Indians club that has seen its bullpen go from the upper echelon in the league in 2017 to a bottom-dweller in 2018.
    • Braves reliever Josh Ravin (currently pitching for Triple-A Gwinnett) experienced a scare yesterday when he was struck in the face by a line drive. Ravin’s stable, however (at least enough so to tweet), and is set to be further evaluated on Sunday in Atlanta when the swelling goes down. The current diagnosis is five facial fractures and a concussion. Ravin has yet to allow a run in Gwinnett across 18 innings, during which time he’s struck out 30 batters and walked nine.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Amateur Draft Signings: 6/13/18]]> 2018-06-13T15:38:16Z 2018-06-13T15:35:12Z We’ll use this post to track Wednesday’s notable agreements from the top few rounds of the draft (rankings referenced are courtesy of Baseball AmericaMLB.comFangraphs and ESPN’s Keith Law — with the scouting reports from MLB and Fangraphs both coming free to the general public) …

    • Reds second-round pick Lyon Richardson scored a $2MM payday to forego his commitment to the University of Florida, per’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). That’s nearly half a million over the slot value ($1,520,300) for a player who has only recently emerged as a high-end pitching prospect.’s team was highest among major prospect outlets, ranking Richardson 67th on the basis of his ample upside as an athletic hurler who has shown big velocity despite unpolished mechanics.
    • The Yankees have announced a variety of signings, including deals with second-rounder Josh Breaux and third-rounder Ryder Green. These agreements were first reported by Callis (Twitter links), with the bonus values pinned down by Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). Breaux’s bonus of $1,497,500 handily tops his $1,086,900 slot value, while Green, too, receives an over-slot $997,500 bonus that exceeds his $576,400 slot value. All of the above lists include Breaux among the top 100 available prospects, with an increasingly promising bat and improving work behind the dish justifying the placement.
    • The Braves got second-round selection Greyson Jenista for a $1.2MM bonus that leaves them $250,500 of extra pool space to work with, Callis reports on Twitter. The Wichita State slugger received a fairly broad array of grades from prospect hounds, but the Fangraphs crew was highest. With big power and the ability to draw walks, but also plenty of swing-and-miss in his game, there’s a lot to like about the bat. One major question is whether Jenista will be able to work into being a reasonable defender in the corner outfield, or whether instead he’s destined for first base in the long run.
    • Second-rounder Alek Thomas will join the Diamondbacks rather than heading to TCU, as Callis also tweets. The deal includes a $1.2MM bonus that tops the $1,035,500 allocation that came with the 63rd overall draft slot. Law was quite bullish on the young outfielder, crediting him with “five-tool potential” and “an advanced feel on both sides of the ball.”
    • The Nationals have also agreed to terms with their second-round selection, UConn lefty Tim Cate, Callis adds on Twitter. It’s an at-slot, $986,200 bonus for the 65th overall choice of the draft. Best known for his big hook, Cate is an undersized hurler who has also had some worrying arm health questions crop up. Still, Baseball America ranked him 54th on its board, noting his “exceptional feel to land his breaking ball in the zone and bury it for swings and misses.”
    • Still another second-rounder, Florida Atlantic infielder Tyler Frank, will take home a $997,500 bonus from the Rays, per’s Jonathan Mayo (Twitter link). That leaves the Tampa Bay club with some extra funds to work with, as the 56th slot came with a $1,228,000 allocation. Also going under-slot were Royals second-rounder Jonathan Bowlan ($697,500 bonus vs. $1,168,300 slot) and Twins second-rounder Ryan Jeffers ($800K bonus vs. $1,140,600 slot), according to Callis (Twitter links)
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves Designate Luke Jackson]]> 2018-06-13T13:19:05Z 2018-06-13T13:19:05Z The Braves have designated right-hander Luke Jackson for assignment, per a club announcement. His roster spot will go to starter Mike Soroka, who has been activated from the 10-day DL.

    Jackson, 26, has been on and off the Atlanta 40-man roster a few times already in the past two seasons. For the most part, other than exhibiting good velocity, he has not shown much cause to command a regular MLB job.

    That said, Jackson has shown an intriguing increase in his strikeout rate thus far in 2018, recording nine strikeouts (and allowing just two hits) in 5 1/3 MLB innings and 34 more in his 21 1/3 frames at Triple-A. He has also doled out too many free passes, though, including four in his brief time this year in the majors.

    We’ll see if another organization decides to give Jackson a look, or if he’ll strike out onto the open market if he clears waivers. Having been outrighted previously, he’ll have the right to decide.

    Meanwhile, the Braves will gladly welcome back Soroka. The 20-year-old phenom ended up missing about a month with a shoulder injury. He’ll make his fourth MLB start today.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[East Notes: Yankees, H. Harvey, Soroka, Cespedes]]> 2018-06-10T02:44:12Z 2018-06-10T02:44:12Z It turns out top prospect Justus Sheffield might not be the next minor league pitcher in line to join the Yankees’ rotation, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports in his latest video that the club nearly promoted 23-year-old Jonathan Loaisiga for a spot start during a doubleheader, until rain altered their schedule. Rosenthal notes that Loaisiga had never pitched above Low-A ball until this season. It seems like he’s met little resistance this year, though, as he’s posted a 3.13 ERA this season while striking out 10.96 batters per nine against an equally impressive 1.17 walks per nine. Of course, plenty could change by the next time the Yankees need another starter. It’s certainly worth noting that promoting Sheffield last Monday might have improved his chances of making the Super Two cut, had he impressed enough to stick in the rotation from there on out. There will certainly be some entertaining suspense surrounding this situation from here forward.

    Other items fresh off the East coast…

    • Orioles prospect Hunter Harvey was scratched from his most recent Double-A start due to a shoulder injury, Dan Connoly of reports. Harvey’s dealt with plenty of injury issues in his career already, and this latest case (described as “posterior shoulder instability) has left him on an unknown timetable to return to the rotation. Harvey also had Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow in 2016. Even when on the field, he hasn’t been particularly impressive this year. His 5.57 ERA across 32 1/3 innings on the season is an eyesore.
    • Rookie Mike Soroka is set to come off the DL and start Wednesday for the Braves, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. O’Brien adds that manager Brian Snitker plans to hold Soroka to a pitch count of 85-90. Soroka is widely considered to be one of the best right-handed pitching prospects in the game, and he’s backed that up by pitching to a 2.77 FIP in three starts this season while striking out more than a batter per inning.
    • Injury news isn’t looking so good for a division rival, however, as the MetsYoenis Cespedes reportedly left his rehab start tonight with tightness in his right quad. He’ll be re-evaluated tomorrow, but even a small setback is certainly discouraging; Cespedes has been riddled with injuries since signing a four-year, $110MM pact with New York following the 2016 season.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Ronald Acuna Could Return Next Weekend]]> 2018-06-09T19:15:10Z 2018-06-09T19:14:44Z Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna is progressing in his recovery from a sprained left ACL, Mark Bowman of explains, and could return as early as next weekend. The 20-year-old phenom, who went down May 27, would only miss around three weeks in that scenario. Acuna’s injury looked like a potential season-ender when it occurred, making his quick recovery all the more welcome for Atlanta. “What he’s doing right now is amazing after looking at what happened,” manager Brian Snitker said. “What he’s doing now is really good.”

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Austin Riley To Miss Time With Sprained PCL]]> 2018-06-09T13:39:12Z 2018-06-09T13:37:06Z
  • Braves third base prospect Austin Riley is set to miss “several weeks” after suffering a sprained PCL in his right knee, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. The promising 21-year-old had been faring nicely in his first action at Triple-A, where he has slashed .284/.345/.431 in 113 plate appearances (with a 33.6 percent strikeout rate, however). It’s possible Riley’s injury could affect his chances at a major league promotion this season and influence the Braves’ trade deadline plans. Atlanta’s top two options at third are Johan Camargo and Ryan Flaherty, but both players’ numbers have fallen off as the season has progressed. In the event the Braves seek a veteran upgrade at the hot corner over the summer, there should be some proven commodities available, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd and Steve Adams pointed out Friday.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Braves Place Julio Teheran On DL, Select Luke Jackson]]> 2018-06-06T00:06:31Z 2018-06-06T00:06:31Z The Braves announced that they’ve placed right-hander Julio Teheran on the 10-day disabled list due to a right thumb contusion and selected the contract of righty Luke Jackson to take his spot on the 25-man roster. Atlanta had an open spot on the 40-man, so the team didn’t need to make a corresponding move in that regard.

    Teheran, still just 27 years of age, is sporting a respectable 4.31 ERA on the season, though there’s plenty of reason to believe that he’s been fairly fortunate to maintain that mark. The right-hander’s average fastball velocity is down to a career-worst 89.3 mph, and he’s averaging a career-high 4.18 walks and 1.77 homers per nine innings pitched. Beyond that, Teheran’s chase rate and swinging-strike rate are down from his career levels, and he’s benefiting from a .225 BABIP and an 80.4 percent strand rate. Fielding-independent metrics like FIP, xFIP and SIERA all peg Teheran around 5.00 or higher.

    [Related: Updated Atlanta Braves depth chart]

    It’s not clear how long Teheran will miss, though there’s no indication that he’s expected to be out for a prolonged period. With off-days on June 7 and 11, the Braves can skip the fifth spot in their rotation and stick with current starters Sean Newcomb, Mike Foltynewicz, Brandon McCarthy and Anibal Sanchez. If they have to dip into their Triple-A ranks, Matt Wisler has already made three spot starts this season and could be the first line of defense to do so again. Max Fried and Lucas Sims are also starting in Triple-A and are on the 40-man roster, though they’ve been used primarily out of the ’pen in the Majors so far in 2018.

    As for Jackson, this’ll be the third time he’s been selected to the team’s 40-man roster this season. Atlanta has already outrighted Jackson on two occasions, but he’s stuck with the organization and will now embark on his third stint with the Major League team in 2018. The 26-year-old has surrendered two runs in 1 1/3 innings at the MLB level so far and posted a 4.62 ERA in 50 2/3 innings for the Braves last year. In 21 1/3 Triple-A frames so far in 2018, he’s pitched to a pristine 1.69 ERA with 34 strikeouts against 10 walks.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Braves’ Jose Ramirez, Ronald Acuna]]> 2018-06-05T03:59:57Z 2018-06-05T03:59:57Z The Braves have provided updates on the health of righty Jose Ramirez and outfielder Ronald Acuna, each of whom presently resides on the 10-day DL. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the news (Twitter links).

    Ramirez, 28, had been one of the team’s go-to late-inning arms in 2017, when he pitched to a 3.19 ERA in 62 innings. But he stumbled early in the current campaign, allowing a dozen earned runs in just 6 1/3 innings while issuing eight walks against seven strikeouts. Perhaps it wasn’t surprising when it turned out that Ramirez was dealing with a shoulder problem.

    Unfortunately, the progress made to date now appears to be at risk. Ramirez had been working back to form but was forced to halt his first live batting practice session today. It’s not clear at this point whether he’ll need to go back to resting or perhaps give throwing another go, but that’s obviously suboptimal news under the circumstances. Continued uncertainty surrounding Ramirez certainly enhances the Braves’ potential need for relievers at the deadline.

    As for Acuna, there’s still no reason to fear that he has a significant injury. But he’s still not leaping back to action quite as promptly as seemed possible in the wake of the scary knee hyperextension he suffered while running through the bag at first base.

    For the time being, Acuna is still just working on physical improvements. He may resume baseball activities as soon as next week, though that’s not written in stone. Notably, O’Brien adds that the team now anticipates that Acuna will require a rehab assignment. While the Braves are no doubt still grateful that Acuna somehow avoided a much more serious problem, it will likely still be a while before he’s back in action at the MLB level.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Braves Outright Miguel Socolovich]]> 2018-06-05T02:55:37Z 2018-06-03T14:47:37Z The Braves have outrighted right-handed reliever Miguel Socolovich to Triple-A Gwinnett, Mark Bowman of tweets. His 25-man roster spot will go to left-hander Luiz Gohara, whom the Braves reinstated from the bereavement list.

    Because Socolovich has been outrighted in the past (a few times since last season, in fact), he has the right to reject the assignment in favor of free agency. It seems he’ll accept it, though, and remain in the Atlanta organization. The 31-year-old Socolovich joined the Braves over the winter after spending the previous three seasons with the Cardinals.

    Socolovich had his moments in St. Louis, where he registered a 3.80 ERA with 7.73 K/9 and 2.58 BB/9 in 66 1/3 innings, though his performance dropped off significantly last season with an 8.68 ERA in 18 1/3 frames. His struggles have continued this year as a member of the Braves, with whom he has allowed six earned runs on eight hits and two walks (with four strikeouts) over five innings. Some of the damage came Saturday, when Socolovich took the loss against the Nationals. On the heels of that showing, he’ll head back to Gwinnett, where he has logged a 2.63 ERA, 7.88 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 24 innings this year.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mike Soroka Could Return June 16]]> 2018-06-03T02:35:27Z 2018-06-03T02:35:03Z
  • Right-hander Mike Soroka could return to the Braves’ rotation as early as June 16, Mark Bowman of reports. Soroka, who has been on the disabled list since May 14 with shoulder inflammation, made a successful rehab start Friday at the Single-A level and will throw two more – the first with Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday. The 20-year-old rookie began his major league career in impressive fashion prior to the injury, tossing 14 2/3 innings of 3.68 ERA ball with 9.2 K/9 and 2.45 BB/9 over three starts.
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