Hot Stove: Atlanta Braves Week-In-Review, November 13

Braves sign Colon, Dickey, Collmenter, Walden; Ender Grabs The Gold; Weber Waives Goodbye; Rule V Draft and Minor League Free Agents

hot-stove
The baseball GM Meetings – the informal start of the Hot Stove League – took place this week, and as expected the Atlanta Braves came ready to wheel-and-deal.

Atlanta Braves GM John Coppolella was not shy about sharing the Braves intentions to acquire two or three starting pitchers and he was true to his word, re-signing right-hander Josh Collmenter to a one-year deal. He then turned around and inked righties R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon each to a one-year deal.

Josh Collmenter (Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Josh Collmenter (Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

Josh Collmenter

The first deal was with right-handed Josh Collmenter, a six-year veteran who ended the 2016 season making 3 starts for Atlanta after a nomadic year that saw him released by Arizona, picked up by the Cubs, and sold to the Braves.

Collmenter made a good impression with Atlanta, pitching to a 2.37 ERA (4.46 FIP) over 3 starts and 19 innings pitched. Collmenter made his name in Arizona and had a 3.54 ERA (4.01 FIP) in 659 IP with them over parts of six seasons. The signing puts Collmenter in the mix to be part of the 2016 starting rotation, thought he’s more likely to be used as Arizona used him – as a swing-man that can spot-start. The deal was for one year with a base salary of $1.2 Million, with another possible $1.2 Million available in performance incentives.

With the era of the 8-inning starter seeming to fade as teams realize that for most pitchers there’s little upside in letting them turn over a line-up more than a couple times, pitchers like Collmenter that are already conditioned to make multiple-inning relief outings may become more valuable. The man nicknamed “Tomahawk” is mostly a fastball/change-up pitcher. Collmenter has an extreme over-the-top pitching motion that masks his pitches well, and that deception is needed as his fastball tops out at around 88 miles per hour.

 

Old men, new Braves R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon (USA TODAY Sports)
Old men, new Braves R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon (USA TODAY Sports)

R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon

On Thursday, the Braves acquired right-handed knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Dickey, most recently of the Toronto Blue Jays, signed a one-year deal with a team option for 2018. The Dickey guarantees him $8 Million, and as much as $15.5 Million if the option is exercised. The following day they signed New York Mets legend Bartolo Colon to a one-year contract for $12.5 Million. My colleague Brent Blackwell has already done a nice breakdown of these signings.

Acquiring Dickey and Colon offer two things for the Braves beyond just getting inning-eating pitchers:

  1. Disappointing young pitchers in the first wave of prospects to make the majors now have a bar to reach if they want to make the club and stay with them (looking at you Matt Wisler and Aaron Blair). If they can’t beat out two guys in their 40s, they don’t deserve to be in the majors. Last season too many guys got too many chances based on nothing but the ineptitude of the other starting pitchers on the staff.
  2. Fans will be spared the ignominy of sub-replacement retreads like Joel De La Cruz and Fausto Carmona Roberto Hernandez starting actual major league games for the club.

Jordan Walden

To keep up the consecutive pitcher signing streak alive, the Braves reunited with right-handed reliever Jordan Walden, signing him to a minor league deal that would guarantee him $1 million if he makes the club, and potentially pay him another $2 million in incentives. Walden has not pitched since April 2015, the season after he was traded to St. Louis along with Jason Heyward for right-handers Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins, suffering from the injury triptych of shoulder, biceps, and lat muscle problems.  Any pitcher trying to come back from essentially two years out of the game faces an uphill battle, but this is a classic low-risk move for Atlanta.

Did you know that Jordan Walden does a weird hop during his delivery?
Did you know that Jordan Walden does a weird hop during his delivery?

Ender Inciarte Picks Up Something At The Hardware Store

Centerfielder Ender Inciarte was awarded a much-deserved Gold Glove award for his defensive prowess. Just as a reminder, here’s a look back at some of the jaw-dropping plays he made.

Inciarte dekes Carlos Ruiz, records 8-3 double play

 

Inciarte robs Cespedes, secures sweep of Mets
Inciarte robs Cespedes, secures sweep of Mets

 

Inciarte makes diving catch, doubles off Bryce Harper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the flipside, first baseman Freddie Freeman was inexplicably snubbed out of the Silver Slugger Award. The award went to the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo.

Ryan Weber

Ryan Weber (AP Photo/John Amis)
Ryan Weber (AP Photo/John Amis)

Technically this happened last week, but I wasn’t writing this last week so I’m fudging it. On November 2, the Seattle Mariners claimed right-hander Ryan Weber off waivers from Atlanta. Weber had been up-and-down with the Braves for the last two seasons, pitching fairly well at AAA Gwinnett and fairly poorly in Atlanta.

Weber was the last player in the Braves organization drafted in the ill-fated 2009 June amateur draft. The only other players drafted that year by Atlanta and to actually suit up for the big league club were left-hander Mike Minor and righty David Hale. Incredibly, there may be some debate on if this draft was worse than the 2011 draft.

Rule V Draft Deadline Approaching

Weber was exposed to waivers because of the need to free up space on the 40-man roster to protect minor leaguers that are otherwise eligible for the Rule V draft. The deadline to set the roster is November 18.

(Editor’s Note: Some of the following information was taken from research done by the incredibly informed and previously mentioned Braves Option Guy. If you don’t follow him on the Twitters, you are failing as a Braves fan. – CJ)

Here are the players currently eligible:

Stephen Janas, with 'stache
Stephen Janas, with ‘stache

AAA:
1B/3B Kyle Kubitza
IF Reed Harper
RHP Steve Janas
LHP Steve Kent
LHP Matt Marksberry

AA:
C Joe Odom
1B/OF Joey Meneses
1B Jacob Schrader
3B Carlos Franco
IF Levi Hyams
IF Johan Camargo
OF Connor Lien
RHP Lucas Sims
RHP David Peterson

Johan Camargo
Johan Camargo

A+:
IF Luis Valenzuela
IF Ryan Gebhardt
IF Omar Obregon
UT Erison Mendez
RHP Zach Quintana
RHP Wes Parsons
RHP Enderson Franco
LHP Zach Bird

A:
1B Carlos Castro
LHP Max Fried
LHP Oriel Caicedo

Of these, expect Max Fried and Lucas Sims to be protected on the 40-man roster while some shuffling to occur to protect players from the minor league portions of the draft.

SHAMELESS PLUG: Have you read Get to Know a Prospect: Max Fried? Guaranteed to give you at least 7% more information on Max Fried than you had before!

Minor League Veterans File For Free Agency

Gwinnett utilityman Sean Kazmar hits a triple (Jim Lacey/MiLB.com)

Finally, the following players have declared free agency. I expect some to re-sign with the Braves on minor league deals.

AAA:
IF Daniel Castro
RHP Maikel Cleto
RHP Brandon Cunniff
UT Sean Kazmar
RHP Casey Kelly
OF Matt Lipka
1B Jordan Pacheco
RHP Rob Wooten
RHP Madison Younginer

AA:
RHP Victor Mateo
C Willians Astudillo

 

About Andy Harris 65 Articles
Andy Harris has been a baseball fan since seeing the Big Red Machine in 1978 and hardcore baseball fan since reading Bill James's Historical Baseball Abstract in 1990. Andy moved to the Atlanta area in 1991, which turned out to be a pretty good year for the local team.

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