The Braves announced Wednesday that they’ve signed first baseman/outfielder Peter O’Brien and outfielder Shane Robinson to minor league contracts with invitations to Major League camp this spring. Atlanta also confirmed previously reported minor league deals with outfielder Rafael Ortega; infielders Charlie Culberson, Pete Kozma and Yangervis Solarte; and pitchers Felix Hernandez and Chris Rusin. All will be in Major League camp as well.
Now 29 years old, O’Brien was once a well-regarded prospect with the Yankees and Diamondbacks, both of whom hoped that his significant power would outweigh the defensive question marks that plagued him behind the plate. Unfortunately, that never proved to be the case, and O’Brien shifted from catcher into an outfield/first base role. He’s appeared in 36 games for the Marlins over the past two seasons, hitting at a .231/.306/.426 clip with five homers but 41 strikeouts in 121 plate appearances. Defense and making contact have long been issues for the slugger, who carries a .250/.314/.495 slash in parts of five Triple-A seasons.
The 35-year-old Robinson has seen action in nine big league seasons — the most recent of which was the 2018 campaign with the Yankees. A career .221/.288/.292 hitter through 849 trips to the plate in the Majors, Robinson clearly isn’t much of an offensive threat. But he’s logged at least 111 games at all three outfield positions and has well above-average marks at each, per both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating. In just under 1800 total innings in the field, DRS pegs him at +24, while UZR has him at +16.9.