Hot Stove: Atlanta Braves Week-In-Review, December 5

The Atlanta Braves continue their Hot Stove activity.

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If the Beatles say there can be eight days a week, who am I to argue? Here’s your Atlanta Braves week (plus a day) in review.

Atlanta Braves Add Former Cardinals Starter Garcia

Feeding the Braves’ seemingly insatiable appetite for starting pitchers on short-term deals, the Braves traded for left-hander Jaime Garcia from the Cardinals in exchanges for right-handed pitching prospects John Gant and Chris Ellis along with Rome second baseman Luke Dykstra.

Jaime Garcia. (Photo: Marc Serota/Getty Images North America)
Jaime Garcia. (Photo: Marc Serota/Getty Images North America)

After undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome during the 2015 season, Garcia looked to bounce back last season but ended up having a bit of an off-year. Garcia started strong, but flagged in the middle months of the season as he was pitching through a groin strain. With prospect Alex Reyes ready for the rotation, Garcia was the odd man out. When healthy, Garcia has been a fine pitcher and will give Atlanta only its sixth left-handed starter in the last five years, the last being Manny Banuelos in 2015.

If all goes well for them, Gant and Ellis could become back-end starters, but at least for now seem ticketed as relievers. Dykstra had a reputation as one of the best teammates at Rome and has exceptional bat control. Unfortunately, he also had little speed, no power, rarely walked, and was essentially confined to the second base position. I had Gant, Ellis, and Dykstra ranked #22, #35, and #57 on my prospect ranking list.

Atlanta Braves Trade Whalen, Povse to Seattle for Jackson

Alex Jackson of the Clinton LumberKings. (Photo: Paul R. Gierhart/MiLB.com)
Alex Jackson of the Clinton LumberKings. (Photo: Paul R. Gierhart/MiLB.com)

If there’s one thing John Coppolella seems to like more than starting pitchers on short deals, it’s former first-round draft picks. Last Tuesday, the Braves acquired their fourth first rounder of the 2014 draft class in the form of talented but so-far disappointing outfielder Alex Jackson. Seattle had expected Jackson to be a fast riser after moving him off catcher and into the outfield, but after three pro seasons he was still mired at the class-A level. The Braves will try to clean up Jackson’s hitting mechanics and light a fire under the former prep star.

I broke down this trade in more detail last week.

Schuerholz Voted Into Baseball Hall of Fame

Former Braves General Manager and current team President John Schuerholz was voted in unanimously by the Veteran’s Committee Today’s Game Era Committee on Sunday. Schuerholtz joins former Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig as executive inductees.

John Schuerholz at the Hall of Fame press conference. (Photo: Alex Brandon/AJC)
John Schuerholz at the Hall of Fame press conference. (Photo: Alex Brandon/AJC)

Schuerholz guided six teams to the World Series as a general manager (’85 Royals; ’91, ’92, ’95, ’96, and ’99 Braves), winning with the ’85 Royals and ’95 Braves. He was also one of the chief architects of the Braves long, sustained run of success, garnering 14 consecutive division titles from 1991 though 2005.

A slate of players that were not voted in by the Baseball Writer’s Association of America were also considered, but none achieved the 12-of-15 voting standard required for enshrinement. The slate this year included former Braves great Dale Murphy.

We here at Outfield Fly Rule congratulate John Schuerholz on his amazing and well-deserved honor.

Braves Nab Lefty Lindgren

The New York Yankees designated left-handed prospect Jacob Lindgren for assignment and allowed him to become a free agent as they faced a 40-man roster crunch. The Atlanta Braves swooped and and signed Lindgren to $600,000 deal, with a $450,000 signing bonus.

Jacob Lindgren and his slider.
Jacob Lindgren and his slider.

Lindgren was a top relief prospect for the Yankees after being drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft. The man nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” rapidly ascended the minor league ranks and made his major league debut in 2015. Unfortunately bone spurs ended the season prematurely. While on a rehab assignment in 2016 Lindgren tore his UCL, which required season-ending Tommy John surgery. Lindgren is not expected to pitch in 2017, but has five years of team control. If Lindgren can successfully rehab his shoulder, he could be a major bullpen piece in 2018.

Castillo Becomes a Free Agent and a Braves Target

Welington Castillo, professional catcher. (Photo: Norm Hall / Getty Images)
Welington Castillo, professional catcher. (Photo: Norm Hall / Getty Images)

Despite a strong offensive season, the Arizona Diamondbacks non-tendered veteran catcher Welington Castillo on Friday, adding a quality option to this off-season’s thin catching pool.

Castillo hit .264/.322/.423 with 14 home runs this past season. Castillo also has a tremendous arm, last season throwing out 32% of would-be basestealers. On the other hand, Castillo has consistently rated poorly as a pitch framer,though he did show improvement in that category last season.

The Rays and Orioles are also reportedly interested.

Atlanta Braves Come To Terms With Recker, Gosewisch, Rodriguez but Non-Tender Withrow

December 2nd was the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Before the deadline, the Braves reached agreements on one-year deals with catchers Anthony Recker, Tuffy Gosewisch, and left-handed reliever Paco Rodriguez and will avoid arbitration with each of them.

As expected, the Braves tendered contracts to outfielder Ender Inciarte and relievers Ian Krol and Arodys Vizcaino. Unless they come to agreement on a contract beforehand, the Braves and these players will exhange salary arbitration numbers on January 13. As a “file and trial” team, the Braves will not negotiate one-year deals with those players after that date.

Right-hander Chris Withrow was not tendered a contract by the team. Withrow successfully came back from Tommy John surgery in 2016 and pitched 37.2 innings with Atlanta to mixed results.

Acuna Stays Hot For Melbourne

Braves outfield prospect Ronald Acuna is continuing to do good work for the Melbourne Aces of the Australian Baseball League. The teenager is batting .319/.347/.511 after a weekend in which he hit home runs in back-to-back games and stole three more bases to put him first in the league in that category.

Back in the Western Hemisphere, Mississippi left-hander Michael Mader has been pitching well for Criollos de Caguas of the Roberto Clemente League. In 10.1 innings pitched so far, Mader has only allowed 1 run for a 0.84 ERA. Gwinnett lefty Brian Moran is pitching for the same team and has only allowed 2 runs in 9.2 IP.

Shameless Plug: come back later this week for Get to Know a Prospect: Ronald Acuna! Learn more about this talented Venezuelan that is taking Australia by storm.

About Andy Harris 70 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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