The Braves have signed relievers R.J. Alaniz and Brandon Brennan to minor league contracts, according to Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of Baseball America. Both right-handers picked up brief MLB action last season.
Alaniz made three appearances with the Reds during the final couple weeks of the year. That marked his first action at the highest level since 2019, when he combined for 12 appearances between Seattle and Cincinnati. Alaniz has allowed 18 runs in 18 1/3 career innings, but he’s coming off a nice season in Triple-A.
The 30-year-old made 33 appearances with the Reds’ top affiliate in Louisville. He tossed 39 innings of 3.46 ERA ball, punching out an impressive 26.9% of opposing hitters. He issued walks at a slightly elevated 10.2% clip, but he missed enough bats in the minors to get a late-season cameo in Cincinnati. The Reds outrighted him off their roster at the end of the year, at which point he elected minor league free agency.
Brennan, 30, was briefly a teammate of Alaniz with the Mariners in 2019. Seattle selected him out of the White Sox’s farm system in the Rule 5 draft the year prior, and he stuck on the active roster all year for a rebuilding M’s club. Brennan made 44 appearances, pitching to a 4.56 ERA with a decent 24% strikeout percentage but a 12.2% walk rate. Carrying him on the roster all season entitled the Mariners to his long-term contractual rights, but an oblique strain limited him to five appearances in 2020.
Seattle designated Brennan for assignment last April, and he landed with the Red Sox via waivers. He only made one appearance in Boston, tossing three scoreless innings but getting DFA the next day as the Sox needed fresh arms for the bullpen. He cleared outright waivers but was released in September after posting just a 5.97 ERA in 37 2/3 frames with Triple-A Worcester.
The Braves have quite a bit of their season-opening bullpen already locked in. They’ve added Kenley Jansen, Collin McHugh and Tyler Thornburg to a unit that already included Will Smith, Luke Jackson, Tyler Matzek and A.J. Minter, with Sean Newcomb and Dylan Lee perhaps factoring into the mix. There’s unlikely to be room for either Alaniz or Brennan in the early going, but they both figure to serve as experienced depth options with Triple-A Gwinnett.