Atlanta Braves – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-08-22T17:34:19Z WordPress George Miller <![CDATA[Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley To Begin Rehab Assignments]]> 2019-08-22T04:10:04Z 2019-08-22T02:41:14Z
  • A pair of young Braves regulars are slated to begin rehab assignments in the coming days, per Mark Bowman of Shortstop Dansby Swanson will join the Class-A Rome Braves on Thursday for a rehab stint, with rookie slugger Austin Riley joining him the following day. Swanson has been out since late July with a heel issue, while Riley has missed about two weeks with a partially torn right LCL. While the Braves have found capable replacements for both young stars and has gotten by without the pair, the club would no doubt welcome Swanson and Riley back to the lineup as soon as possible. Swanson has put together his best offensive season, while Riley has gotten his career off to a blistering start, slugging 17 home runs in just 66 Major League games.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Braves Place Brian McCann On 10-Day Injured List]]> 2019-08-21T19:44:46Z 2019-08-21T19:20:19Z The Braves have placed catcher Brian McCann on the 10-day injured list due to a left knee sprain, the team announcedAlex Jackson has been called up from Triple-A to take McCann’s roster spot.

    The injury occurred in last night’s 5-1 win over the Marlins, as McCann left the game after the third inning.  The injury isn’t considered to be overly serious, as’s Mark Bowman tweets that the Braves hope McCann is out for “just a couple of weeks.”  McCann missed time due to arthroscopic knee surgery last season, though that procedure was on his right knee, rather than his left.

    While McCann may not be out for too long, his absence comes at a time when Atlanta is missing a worryingly large number of position players.  Dansby Swanson, Nick Markakis, Ender Inciarte, and Austin Riley are all on the IL, with only Swanson and Riley potentially able to return before the end of August.  The Braves have the cushion of a six-game lead over Washington in the NL East, though 23 of their remaining games are against the Nationals, Mets, Phillies, and Giants, all of whom are still vying for the NL wild card.

    McCann has hit .264/.336/.423 with 10 home runs over 274 PA with the Braves this season, delivering a solid bounce-back performance after last year’s injury-shortened campaign with the Astros.  McCann’s offense has helped balance out a down year at the plate for Tyler Flowers, who has only a .696 OPS this season after hitting .261/.360/.411 over his first three seasons (330 PA) in Atlanta.

    A right hamstring strain briefly sidelined McCann back in April, opening the door for Jackson to make his Major League debut in the form of three games for the Braves.  Jackson was the sixth overall pick of the 2014 draft, though after his career was seemingly stalling out as an outfielder in the Mariners’ farm system, he converted to catcher after joining the Braves’ organization prior to the 2017 season.  Jackson will serve as Flowers’ backup until McCann is back in action.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Brian McCann Leaves Game Due To Knee Soreness]]> 2019-08-21T15:35:17Z 2019-08-21T15:35:17Z Brian McCann left Tuesday’s game with what the Braves described as left knee soreness.  The veteran catcher was set to undergo tests today, and manager Brian Snitker indicated to reporters (including Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) that he didn’t yet know if McCann would need to be moved to the injured list.  Alex Jackson is most obvious candidate to be called up from the minors to back up Tyler Flowers if McCann does require an IL stint, though Atlanta also picked up John Ryan Murphy in a trade deadline swap with the Diamondbacks.  Calling up Murphy would require the Braves to make room on the 40-man roster, however.  McCann has hit .264/.336/.423 with 10 homers over 274 plate appearances this season (while also posting some above-average framing numbers), giving the Braves some extra pop from the catcher position as Flowers has had a down year at the plate.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Braves Place Jacob Webb On 60-Day IL]]> 2019-08-20T02:10:49Z 2019-08-20T02:10:49Z The Braves recalled right-handed reliever Jacob Webb from Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday and placed him on the 60-day injured list with an elbow impingement, David O’Brien of The Athletic tweets. The move opened up 40-man space for outfielder Billy Hamilton, whom the Braves claimed off waivers from the Royals.

    This will be a season-ending development for Webb, whose elbow problems have helped prevent him from pitching in the majors since July 12. He had been in the minors over the past couple weeks after coming off the 10-day IL on Aug. 4. The 26-year-old will wrap up his rookie campaign having pitched to a measly 1.39 ERA over 32 1/3 innings. Of course, ERA indicators FIP (4.31), xFIP (5.14) and SIERA (4.54) weren’t nearly as bullish on Webb’s work, while his strikeout, walk and groundball rates (7.79 K/9, 3.34 BB/9, 38.2 GB%) also suggest he’d have had a difficult time upholding his great ERA had he stayed healthy.

    In fairness to Webb, he doesn’t simply look like a case of smoke and mirrors. The hard thrower logged a strong 17.5 percent infield fly rate before hitting the IL last month and also emerged as a Statcast favorite. Webb’s fastball velocity (95.1 mph; 81st percentile) and spin rate (88th percentile) have been among the most impressive in the game in 2019, which is also true of his expected weighted on-base average (.287) and real wOBA against (.281).

    It’s debatable how much good fortune factored into Webb’s success this year, but what’s clear is that he has been one of the few Atlanta relievers to post overwhelmingly positive results in the run prevention category. Webb is far and away No. 1 in ERA among all regular Braves bullpen arms, so it’s a letdown for the NL East leaders to lose a promising young hurler in what has been a trying season for their relief corps.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves Claim Billy Hamilton]]> 2019-08-19T23:13:13Z 2019-08-19T21:51:50Z The Braves have claimed outfielder Billy Hamilton off waivers from the Royals, per a club announcement. The Atlanta organization will be responsible for the remainder of Hamilton’s $4.25MM salary along with a $1MM buyout on a mutual option.

    It’s a fairly significant price to pay, but understandable under the circumstances. The Braves have lost their two best left-handed-hitting outfield options, Nick Markakis and Ender Inciarte, to injuries that may not heal by the end of the season. Lacking the ability to strike a trade for a MLB contract, the club had limited avenues for acquiring a replacement. The

    As we noted when Inciarte’s injury arose, Hamilton is in the same general sub-category of player. Both are speedy, defensive-oriented center fielders who hit from the left side. If Inciarte is something of an archetype, Hamilton is an extreme version of the class. Hamilton has been an exceedingly valuable fielder and baserunner, though he has minimal power and has rarely reached base at palatable rates.

    This year, Hamilton’s bat has sunk even further. At the time of his departure from the K.C. roster, he had produced 305 plate appearances of 44 wRC+ output. He’s still valued as an excellent defender and baserunner, though there has been a bit of erosion in Hamilton’s most notable physical skill. By measure of Statcast, his sprint speed has fallen from a 99+ percentile placement in recent years to the 97.5th percentile this season.

    While Hamilton hasn’t been at his best in 2019, he ought to help shore things up down the stretch. And he’s a fascinating postseason roster piece as a potential late-inning pinch runner and/or defensive replacement. That’s arguably worth a premium to a team that’s all but assured of a postseason appearance. As we discussed in profiling some August waiver claim candidates, the Braves can perhaps afford to splurge on a needed addition given that they were bailed out of the remainder of their obligations to Kevin Gausman.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Claim Wes Parsons]]> 2019-08-19T20:08:46Z 2019-08-19T19:04:15Z The Rockies announced that they’ve claimed right-handed reliever Wes Parsons off waivers from the Braves, who had designated him for assignment over the weekend. In order to make room on the 40-man roster, the Rox moved Scott Oberg from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL, definitively ending his season. Oberg went on the IL over the weekend due to a blood clot.

    With an immediate need for fresh arms and a longer-term interest in finding cost-efficient relief pitching, it’s no surprise that the Rox made a strike here. Parsons hasn’t quite reached his 27th birthday, has options remaining, and is still a long way from arbitration. It’s possible he’ll be given a chance to pitch his way into the team’s plans for 2020.

    If he’s to take advantage of the opportunity, Parsons will need to improve upon his initial showing in Atlanta. He carried a 3.52 ERA through 15 1/3 MLB innings this year, but didn’t get there in style. With 13 walks to go with a dozen strikeouts, along with a lowly 6.9% swinging-strike rate, it was clear that Parsons wasn’t fooling MLB hitters.

    That said, there’s still reason to hope for better. Parsons has a history of quality results in the upper minors; this year, at Triple-A, he worked to a 2.86 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 along with a 56.8% groundball rate. No doubt the Rox are particularly intrigued by the fact that Parsons has typically induced quite a few worm burners and limited the long ball as a minor-leaguer.

    Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Swanson Ramping Up Baseball Activities]]> 2019-08-18T01:13:59Z 2019-08-18T01:00:26Z
  • Though the Braves lost Ender Inciarte to injury this weekend, it’s not all doom and gloom out of the Big Peach–as noted in an article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Gabriel Burns, sturdy shortstop performer Dansby Swanson is ramping up baseball activities. The 25-year-old infielder has missed 22 games this year due to an incidental heel injury but was seen taking ground balls before Saturday’s game. Before being hurt, Swanson was putting together his most complete full-season at the plate, with 17 home runs and a 102 wRC+ in 100 games. His injury was partly responsible for the team’s signing of defensive specialist Adeiny Hechavarria, but the team would eagerly clear a place for Swanson at the team table if he were able to return by late August as currently expected. Atlanta holds a 4.5 game lead in the race for the NL East pennant.
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    Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Ender Inciarte Placed On Injured List]]> 2019-08-18T15:36:54Z 2019-08-17T23:01:12Z Following a string of earlier reports regarding the hamstring injury sustained by Braves outfielder Ender Inciarte yesterday, the team has officially placed him on the 10-day injured list. Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution shares that Inciarte is expected to be out 4-6 weeks after an MRI scan revealed a strain of the Grade 2 variety (link). Outfielder Adam Duvall has been recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Inciarte’s place on the active roster.

    2019 has been a hard-luck season for Inciarte so far: it was just four weeks ago that the defensively gifted outfielder was activated after missing 55 games with an injury to the lumbar region in his torso. Since that activation, Inciarte had rebounded with a .293 batting average and 15 RBI in 90 plate appearances. Though his contact-and-defense profile has never been a glamorous one, Inciarte’s absence is sure to cause frustration for a Braves team already thoroughly bitten by injury bugs.

    While the Braves hold a 4.5 game lead on their NL East counterparts, the team has had a hard time keeping key players on the field in recent weeks. After injuries to Nick Markakis and Austin Riley, Inciarte’s month-plus departure will reduce Atlanta’s grass patrol to Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Joyce, Charlie Culberson, Rafael Ortega, and the just-promoted Duvall–a rather thin crew after the talented sophomore from Venezuela.

    Braves fans may have hoped that an Inciarte injury would, at least on the bright side, result in the promotion of one of Cristian Pache or Drew Waters, but Atlanta will turn instead to the veteran Duvall as a depth fill-in. After being acquired from the Reds last year, the Braves tendered a $2.875MM salary to the battle-tested slugger this offseason. He’s spent the majority of 2019 in Triple-A but has been a roughly league-average hitter when called upon in 19 MLB games this year (.250/.297/.500 slash line and 99 wRC+). Inciarte’s injury will also precipitate a temporary move back to center field for Acuna Jr., per Burns’ report.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves Remove Ender Inciarte With Hamstring Injury]]> 2019-08-17T03:03:13Z 2019-08-17T03:02:19Z 10:02pm: Inciarte’s injury does indeed look “significant,” Mark Bowman of tweets. The Braves will further evaluate him Saturday.

    7:17pm: Already facing mounting health challenges, the Braves are now left with another potentially significant injury. Center fielder Ender Inciarte was removed from tonight’s game with what the team is labeling a right hamstring injury, as David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was among those to cover on Twitter.

    After a slow start at the plate, Inciarte suffered a lumbar strain that robbed him of a significant chunk of the season. While his status with the club once seemed in question, Inciarte has been on fire at the plate since returning. He’s now a critical part of the team’s outfield mix with Nick Markakis and Austin Riley on the shelf (and the latter having endured a lengthy slump).

    While we won’t know more about Inciarte’s status until he has undergone further medical review, it’s quite worrisome to see him limp off with a hammy problem. There are just six weeks left in the regular season, with the postseason beckoning thereafter, so there’s not much time to give a significant muscle injury adequate rest. The club will have to hope that it’s just a low-grade strain.

    Earlier today, the Braves demoted Adam Duvall and Johan Camargo, both of whom have struggled at the plate in recent weeks. The former seems like an obvious replacement option — that’s the entire reason he was tendered a contract and kept all season long, after all — and he’ll be able to come right back from Gwinnett without waiting the usual ten days if Inciarte hits the injured list. But that would leave a suboptimal outfield group to supplement Ronald Acuna, with Duvall potentially joining Matt Joyce, Charlie Culberson, and Rafael Ortega as options.

    If Inciarte ends up being diagnosed with a significant injury, it’s likely the Braves will end up taking a hard look at the waiver wire for upgrades. Left-handed-hitting speed demon Billy Hamilton did just come available today; he carries a generally similar profile to Inciarte, albeit with much lesser abilities with the bat. Some will no doubt raise the call for top prospects Christian Pache and Drew Waters. It’d certainly be a bold and fascinating gambit for the team to promote either of the talented twenty-year-olds, though there’s no real indication whether that will seriously be considered.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves Designate Wes Parsons]]> 2019-08-16T22:53:17Z 2019-08-16T21:08:15Z The Braves announced that they have designated righty Wes Parsons for assignment. His roster spot was needed for the club’s previously reported signing of Adeiny Hechavarria, which is now official.

    Parsons, 26, converted to a full-time relief role this season and has had success at limiting earned runs. But that only tells a limited portion of the story.

    In limited MLB action, Parsons has had trouble limiting walks (7.6 per nine), getting swings and misses (6.9% swinging-strike rate), and generating grounders (as he always has in the minors). That’s a recipe for disaster, which explains why the Braves haven’t used him more in the bigs despite a 3.52 ERA in 15 1/3 innings this year.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves To Sign Hechavarria; Option Camargo, Duvall]]> 2019-08-16T19:33:52Z 2019-08-16T19:10:19Z The Braves are slated to make a few notable roster tweaks, according to’s Mark Bowman (via Twitter). The club will ink shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who was recently released by the Mets, as had been suggested earlier today.

    Also joining the active roster will be righty Bryse Wilson. To create roster space, the organization has optioned utilityman Johan Camargo and outfielder Adam Duvall.

    The addition of Hechavarria is filled with interesting angles. For one thing, he had until just recently played for the division-rival Mets, who cut him loose when they had the opportunity to add Joe Panik. New York will continue to cover any further guarantees under Hechavarria’s contract, less a pro-rated portion of the league minimum for the time he spends in the majors in Atlanta.

    It also marks the end of the Braves’ patience with Camargo, whose season-long struggles with the bat and more recent travails with the glove have finally reached a breaking point. His roster spot was said to be safe, but the club obviously decided upon a change when the opportunity arose to add Hechavarria after he cleared release waivers.

    Hechavarria will now pair with Charlie Culberson to line up at shortstop for the foreseeable future. That pairing is keeping the seat warm for the injured Dansby Swanson, whose timetable remains unknown.

    There’s also intrigue surrounding Duvall, who has received scant MLB opportunity this year despite a $2,875,000 salary. His presence on the 40-man roster seemed fortuitous when the club needed to replace Nick Markakis and Austin Riley — all the more so when Duvall socked five long balls in his first six games back in the bigs. But the good times didn’t last. Over his past 48 plate appearances, Duvall has just five hits (one for extra bases) with 18 strikeouts.

    It’s all but certain that some additional near-term roster maneuvering will take place in Atlanta. Right now, the team is rolling with only three bench pieces, which is likely only temporary. And there’s a distinct imbalance in the outfield, which currently features three left-handed hitters (Ender Inciarte, Matt Joyce, Rafael Ortega) alongside everyday superstar Ronald Acuna. Perhaps Culberson will see some action in left field when an opposing southpaw takes the hill, with Hechavarria handling short, but it’d be optimal to have a committed right-handed-hitting outfield piece.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves Considering Signing Adeiny Hechavarria]]> 2019-08-16T18:31:19Z 2019-08-16T18:31:19Z The Braves are contemplating a move to sign veteran shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). Hechavarria evidently cleared release waivers earlier this afternoon.

    It’s not surprising that Hechavarria was not claimed. He was earning at a fairly hefty $3MM rate. And his deal included big bonuses ($1MM apiece at 100 and 150 days on the active roster) that were close at hand when he was cut loose by the Mets. A claiming team would’ve stepped into those obligations.

    The 30-year-old did not hit much in limited action in New York. Over 151 plate appearances, he carried a .204/.252/.359 slash with five home runs. Hechavarria has yet to finish a season in shouting distance of league-average offensive production and owns a lifetime .252/.288/.346 batting line.

    That said, Hechavarria has long been regarded as a high-end infield defender. He’d help the Braves fill in for the injured Dansby Swanson. Though Charlie Culberson and Johan Camargo are both capable of playing shortstop, neither has Hechavarria’s reputation for sterling glovework. Camargo has also endured a brutal season at the plate.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Braves Sticking With Camargo Despite Struggles]]> 2019-08-16T14:47:24Z 2019-08-16T14:47:24Z
  • The Braves plan to stick with infielder Johan Camargo despite his considerable struggles at the plate and with the glove, writes Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Camargo’s playing time has increased with Dansby Swanson shelved, but the 25-year-old has turned in a career-worst .222/.268/.344 batting line through 236 plate appearances this season. And while he’s previously rated as a standout defender at third base and a passable option at shortstop, he’s had some glaring defensive miscues this season (including six errors in 320 total innings of defense after making just 13 in nearly 1100 innings a year ago). Camargo’s hard-hit rate, exit velocity and launch angle have all dipped in 2019 — so much so that Statcast doesn’t feel he’s been the victim of much poor luck. (His .262 wOBA only narrowly trails his .268 xwOBA.) Both manager Brian Snitker and GM Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged the struggles. “I don’t know that anyone knows what the answer is,” said Anthopoulos when discussing the root of Camargo’s struggles.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Austin Riley, Dansby Swanson]]> 2019-08-13T20:42:58Z 2019-08-13T20:42:58Z The partially torn right LCL that sent Braves third baseman/corner outfielder Austin Riley to the injured list last week will not require surgery, Mark Bowman of was among those to report. Now that his season will continue, Riley’s hoping to start a minor league rehab assignment two weeks from now, according to Bowman.

    The 22-year-old Riley joined the Braves in the middle of May, at which point he ranked as one of baseball’s 50 best prospects. Riley, whose promotion came in response to an injury to outfielder Ender Inciarte, began his career in excellent fashion. He owned an OPS upward of .900 as of the end of June, though Riley has come crashing to earth more recently. He’s now a .242/.294/.504 hitter with 17 home runs through his first 255 plate appearances, during which he has fanned in 35.3 percent of trips and walked in just over 5 percent.

    With Josh Donaldson holding down third and right fielder Nick Markakis on the IL, the Riley-less Braves have been going with Adam Duvall in left, Inciarte in center and superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. in right. Inciarte has performed well dating back to his return July 18, while Duvall’s numbers have plummeted since a red-hot start after the Braves promoted him from Triple-A Gwinnett toward the end of last month.

    The Braves’ infield, meanwhile, has been making do without shortstop Dansby Swanson since July 27 because of a heel issue. There’s still no timetable for his return, per Bowman, while David O’Brien of The Athletic adds that he’s not able to do much of anything in terms of baseball activities at this point. Doctors have told Swanson the injury isn’t something he’d be able to play through. It’s especially unfortunate considering the former No. 1 overall pick was enjoying a career season before he landed on the shelf. The 25-year-old has slashed .265/.330/.468 (103 wRC+) with 17 homers and seven steals over 431 trips to the plate.

    Atlanta has replaced Swanson with a combination of Johan Camargo and Charlie Culberson. Camargo has endured a dreadful year after what looked like a breakout 2018, while Culberson’s still-impressive output has declined since he took on a greater role. Nevertheless, the Braves continue to hold a six-game lead in the National League East.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves Select Rafael Ortega]]> 2019-08-13T19:23:06Z 2019-08-13T18:53:37Z The Braves announced that they have selected the contract of Rafael Ortega. He’ll head onto the active roster, with righty Patrick Weigel optioned to make way.

    Ortega, 28, joined the Atlanta organization on a minor-league pact before the season. The left-handed-hitter, who has appeared in parts of three prior MLB campaigns, carries a .285/.373/.524 batting line (126 wRC+) in 493 plate appearances at Triple-A.

    It’s not clear whether Ortega is seen as a potentially permanent solution or a temporary fill-in, but his promotion reflects the fact that the Braves are in a bit of an outfield pickle. The club lost Nick Markakis just before the trade deadline and isn’t sure whether or when he’ll return. Having foregone the chance to add a significant player from outside the organization, the club is now left with what is has on hand and what it can procure through the limitations of the August acquisition period.

    At one point, it seemed the Braves were set with a three-man outfield unit featuring Markakis, superstar Ronald Acuna, and rookie Austin Riley. Many even felt the club should jettison Ender Inciarte when he returned from the injured list. As it turns out, Markakis and Riley are now shelved with injuries; the latter had struggled mightily for a lengthy stretch before hitting the IL.

    For a moment, it looked as if Adam Duvall would be the solution. He started with a six-game hot streak but has been dreadful in his ten ensuing games. There’s still hope that he can contribute, but it’s far from a certainty. Much the same holds for utilityman Johan Camargo, who has scuffled since a hot July. The Braves might’ve utilized Charlie Culberson in the outfield, but he’s filling in at short for the injured Dansby Swanson. Matt Joyce is still on the roster — indeed, he’s in the lineup tonight — but the club has elected to utilize him mostly as a bench bat. (He has played just 64 1/3 innings in the field.)

    Despite the increasing uncertainty, the Braves’ lineup has had no trouble pushing runs across the plate, having outscored all but five other teams in the past thirty days. And the club has managed to stay out in front of the trailing pack in the division. While the Nats, Mets, and (if they can gather themselves) Phillies are threats to mount a charge, they’re still decided underdogs. But the Braves can’t sleep on their lead — six games, entering play today — and will obviously also want to fine tune their outfield mix (among other question areas) in advance of the postseason.