The Braves are attempting to add an outfielder, Jon Morosi of MLB.com tweets. With soon-to-be ex-Ray Corey Dickerson now available, Morosi wonders if Atlanta could emerge as a suitor for him. The Braves currently have two entrenched starting outfielders in center fielder Ender Inciarte and right fielder Nick Markakis, and all-world prospect Ronald Acuna is charging toward the majors and should take over left in the near future. Speculatively, after Acuna comes up, Dickerson could bump Markakis from a starting role. Not only is Dickerson likely the better of the pair, but he’s much younger (28 to 34) and comes with two years of control to Markakis’ one.
Now for the latest on a couple of Atlanta’s division rivals:
- Given that he’s in the last year of his contract, left-hander Gio Gonzalez realizes he may not be in a Nationals uniform in 2019, Jamal Collier of MLB.com writes. Gonzalez would like to remain in Washington, though. “I’ve been here for seven years. To me, this is home,” he said. “That being said, I have to do my part.” If he’s unable to work out a new deal with the Nats in the next year, Gonzalez would hit the open market at the age of 33 – a prospect that’s not too appealing these days, Collier notes. “To see these guys get a team, it would make you feel a little more comfortable, a little more safe,” Gonzalez said of all the unsigned veterans remaining with spring training underway.
- Right-hander Joe Ross, one of Gonzalez’s teammates, is making encouraging progress in his recovery from the Tommy John procedure he underwent last July, Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com reports. Ross is currently throwing off flat ground from 75 feet and aiming to return to the Nationals sometime after the All-Star break. “That’s in my head, for sure,” the 24-year-old said of potentially making an impact in 2018. “My arm will dictate that. But that’s how I feel, and I’m looking forward to helping the team in the second half.”
- If the Phillies don’t acquire starting pitching help, there’s a chance they’ll turn to a nine-man bullpen at times this year, per Matt Gelb of The Athletic (subscription required). It doesn’t appear the Phillies have a rotation capable of working deep in games, observes Gelb, who points out that they’ll be able to shuttle most of their relievers between the majors and minors throughout the season. Further, rookie manager Gabe Kapler is known for outside-the-box thinking and comes from a Dodgers organization that’s unafraid to use its bullpen rather often. Kapler admitted Saturday that a nine-man relief corps may be an option for Philly. “I can envision a couple of different scenarios that would allow us to carry nine in the ’pen,” Kapler said. “Now a lot of that is a little too early to X and O about, but how cool would it be to have that level of depth and those many mix and match options to go after the opposition? That would be a pretty cool thing for us.”