Archive for January, 2023

204: What Has Been Happening With the Braves Since October.

by Gil Elliott

AKA Gil ‘N Mechanicsville

As 2022 comes to a close, it might be appropriate to reflect on what has happened with the Braves since they exited from the playoffs in October. To be sure, there have been both highs and lows on the personnel front. Early on, the first move was to trade minor league RHP Dylan Spain to Colorado for right fielder Sam Hilliard. Hilliard is a light hitting outfielder with power who bats and throws right. Not sure what he brings to the team other than depth to compete for the 5th outfielder spot.

Next was Jake Odorizzi and cash (he was owed $10 million for 2023) to the Texas Rangers for prodigal son Kolby Allard, a lefty pitcher. Look for Allard to vie for the fifth starter spot or long relief spot this spring. In my opinion, he can’t be as underwhelming as Odorizzi was for the Braves. Prediction, Allard will start in Gwinnett unless he wows the staff this spring.

On November 11th, the following players elected free agency: RHP Kenley Jensen (who has since signed with Boston), Jesse Chavez (signed a minor league deal with the Braves), Dansby Swanson (signed for 7 years, $177 million with the Cubs), Luke Jackson (rehabbing from Tommy John), Adam Duvall (rehabbing from wrist surgery), Darren O’Day (unsigned), Robbie Grossman (unsigned) and Ehire Adrianza (who has signed a minor league contract with the Braves). The Braves signed 32 Y/O free agent RHP Nick Anderson. Anderson has not pitched for two years after undergoing elbow surgery for a torn UCL but was very effective for the Tampa Bay Rays prior to the injury. He signed a split major/minor league deal and is viewed as a bullpen depth acquisition.

On November The Braves then acquired RHP Dennis Santana from the Texas Rangers for cash. Santana is a 27 year old from the Dominican who has some speed in his arm. Look for him to compete for a spot in the bullpen. The Cubs claimed minor league third baseman Rylan Bannon off waivers from the Braves, RHP William Woods was claimed by the New York Mets.

On November 18th Alan Rangel, Brooks Wilson, Silvino Bracho, Guillermo Heredia and Stephan Jackson all elected free agency after being designated for assignment. Rangel and Wilson signed minor league contracts with the Braves on the 22nd. On the 24th the Braves signed free agent Styven Francisco (an 18 year old right handed pitcher out of the Dominican Republic) he was assigned to the Dominican Summer League.

On December 5th, the Braves signed free agents Joe Hudson , a catcher in the Reds organization to a minor league contract and AA 3rd baseman Hudson Potts, a 24 Y/O, 6′-3″, 205 lb righty who was originally drafted by the Padres.

On December 7th, the Braves were involved in a three way trade with the Brewers and the A’s which sent Catcher/DH William Contreras to the Brewers and RHP Freddy Tarnok, LHP Kyle Muller, C Manny Pina, RHP Royber Salinas and 2B Esteury Ruiz to Oakland. for catcher Sean Murphy. Murphy subsequently signed a 6 year $77 million extension with the Braves. While the Braves gave up a lot for Murphy, Sean is rated only behind the Philly catcher JT Realmuto for talent in MLB.

On the 13th LHP Yansel Marine another young latin free agent was signed to a minor league contract. On the 16th the Braves acquired SS Hoy Park from the Red Sox for a player to be named. On the 29th Park was DNF by the Braves to clear roster space. On the 19th the Braves signed outfielder Jordan Luplow late of the Diamondbacks as a free agent. On the 23rd, the Baltimore Orioles traded 1B Lewin Diaz to Atlanta,

December 26 RHP Jackson Stephens signed a one year split major/minor league deal with the Braves. On the 28th the Braves traded SS Caeb Durbin and RHP Indigo Diaz to the New York Yankees for LHP Lucus Luetge. Lutege is a 35 year old who pitched 57 1/3 innings out of the pen for the Yankees last season with a 4-4 record and a 2.57 ERA. On the 28th newly acquired 1B Lewin Diaz was DFA.

So, biggest loss was SS Dansby Swanson, biggest gain was C Sean Murphy. Biggest needs, a short stop and a left fielder. The Braves have added an assortment of each but the expectation is there are still trades/ free agents to be signed. In the interim the Braves may decide to go with rookie Vaughn Grissom, who has been working with third base coach Ron Washington, at short or start utility man Orland Arcia. I would not be surprised to see Alex Anthopoulos make another deal but at this point I think he will wait until after spring training to make a big move on the position. As for the outfield, the Braves still have Ozuna (cough), Eddie Rosario, Hillard and Luplow to compete for the job. One thing to remember, the bat plays…


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