The Braves announced this morning they’ve selected the contracts of right-hander Nate Jones and infielder Ehire Adrianza. Outfielder Abraham Almonte has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to the alternate training site, while right-hander Touki Toussaint was placed on the 60-day injured list with a strain in his throwing shoulder. Fellow right-hander Bryse Wilson was optioned to the alternate site, meaning he won’t be on the Opening Day roster.
Jones and Adrianza signed minor-league deals over the offseason and won roster spots with impressive performances in Spring Training. Once an elite reliever with the White Sox, Jones’ career was sidetracked a bit by injuries, as he managed just 52 innings between 2017-19. He pitched to a 6.27 ERA over 18.2 innings with the Reds last year, allowing five home runs in that limited time. Jones struck out 23 against just six walks for Cincinnati, though, and he’ll now enter his tenth different season at the big league level.
Adrianza spent the past four years as a utility option with the Twins. He had a brutal .191/.287/.270 line over 101 plate appearances last year but hit a solid .272/.349/.416 over a larger sample in 2019. Also a former Giant, Adrianza has played everywhere along the infield (with extensive experience up the middle) and picked up a few innings in the corner outfield.
Almonte surprisingly signed a major-league deal with the Braves last October but he’ll lose that 40-man roster spot before the start of the season. While he has appeared in the big leagues in each of the past eight years, Almonte has gotten very little recent playing time. The switch-hitting outfielder only picked up 51 combined plate appearances between the 2019 Diamondbacks and 2020 Padres.
It’s a bit of a surprise to see Wilson optioned out. When the Braves optioned Kyle Wright earlier this week, that seemed to suggest Wilson would open the year as the #5 starter behind Max Fried, Charlie Morton, Drew Smyly and Ian Anderson. Wilson will likely be back before long, but it seems Atlanta’s content to lean on multi-inning arms like Josh Tomlin and/or Sean Newcomb in the fifth starter’s spot, at least early in the year.
Toussaint’s placement on the 60-day IL comes as a surprise. It hadn’t been clear the 24-year-old was dealing with an injury of any kind. The Braves didn’t announce a timetable for his return, but he’ll be shelved at least into June.