The weather in Georgia warmed up over the week and so did the hot stove as the Braves completed two trades and came to terms with two arbitration guys. It is exactly one month until Braves pitchers and catchers report.
Braves Pick Up Three Prospects in Two Trades
On Wednesday, the Braves sent speedy centerfielder Mallex Smith and right-handed bullpen guy Shae Simmons to Seattle in exchange for left-handed prospects Luiz Gohara and Thomas Burrows. With centerfield blocked by the extension of Ender Inciarte, Smith became a valuable trade candidate, and the Braves were able to snag Gohera, considered by many prospect watchers as the top pitching prospect in the Mariners system.
Two days later, the Braves picked up speedy infielder Micah Johnson from the Dodgers, giving up the ‘ole player to be named later or cash considerations. Johnson had been designated by the Dodgers to make room on their 40-man roster.
Outfield Fly Rule’s own Brent Blackwell had coverage of both the Gohara and Johnson trades, while I (Shameless Plug Alert!) added Gohera to the Get to Know a Prospect series. Check them out, they’re free!
Braves Avoid Arbitration, Again
As is their habit, the Braves will not face any of their players in an arbiter’s conference room this spring. The Braves came to terms with relievers Arodys Vizcaino and Ian Krol to one-year deals of $1.55 million and $900,000 respectively. The Braves have successfully avoided arbitration with all but one eligible player since 2001.
Vizcaino and Krol will be looked on as key members of the 2017 bullpen. Check out friend-of-the-blog Tommy Poe’s detailed look at the changes Ian Krol made last season that likely contributed to his success over at Walk-Off Walk, it’s a good read.
Braves Move to Palm Beach Possibly in the Works
According to the Palm Beach Post, the Braves and the city of Palm Beach, FL are deep in discussions on building a new 9,500-seat spring training stadium and associated practice and training facilities. The Braves have been looking to move from their Disney Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando since most teams have vacated central Florida. Eight teams now train on the west coast of Florida, six teams on the east coast, leaving only the Braves and Lakeland’s Detroit Tigers in the central Florida region.
Rumors, Gossip, and Innuendo
#Braves still considering adding bench player, KJohnson a candidate, possibly Francoeur, others. Roster is at 40, but could DFA someone.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) January 9, 2017
- The Braves seem to be working on the finishing touches for the bench and apparently in consideration were two old
trade bait candidatesfriends Kelly Johnson and Jeff Francoeur. The acquisition of Micah Johnson may have solved this, but it’s possible that Johnson may be a stash at AAA while the Braves still obtain a veteran option for the bench. If the Braves go with an 8-man bullpen as they have indicated, there are only 4 bench roles so versatility will be key to anyone selected.
- While the Braves rotation appears to be set going into spring training camp with Julio Teheran, Bartolo Colon, Jaime Garcia, R.A. Dickey, and most likely Mike Foltynewicz, the Braves haven’t quite given up on getting a top-of-the-rotation starter on the trade market according to Braves beat writer Mark Bowman. The Braves are reportedly still in communication with the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox about the trade possibilities around Chris Archer and Jose Quintana respectively.
- Always looking for landing spots for Scott Boras clients, FanRags’ Jon Heyman rumor-mongered that the Los Angeles Angels were “considering making a run” at free agent catcher Matt Wieters. This comes a week after rumors linked Wieters with both Atlanta and the Washington Nationals.
Finally, congratulations to future Hall-of-Famer Chipper Jones and his wife Taylor on the birth of their son. Projected major league ETA: 2039.
— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) January 14, 2017