After the blockbuster trade that sent Shelby Miller to the Diamondbacks for what seemed like half of their young assets (thanks again Dave Stewart!), the Braves have been relatively quiet. In the quest to fill out the roster, the Braves have taken the path of grabbing up formerly useful players and signing them to low-risk contracts, essentially seeing which among them will stick.
Tonight, the Braves continued that trend with the signing of lefty reliever Alex Torres.
The #Braves have signed LH reliever Alex Torres to a Minor League deal and invited him to Spring Training.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) December 31, 2015
The Braves have indicated that the bullpen is among their highest priorities this offseason and while they have stayed out of the market for free agents like Darren O'Day or trade candidates like Aroldis Chapman, the 'pen still appears to be an area of need in the Braves eyes.
As for Torres, he debuted in the majors in 2011 with the Rays while spending time with the Padres and Mets as well before running out of options last season. He has struck out batters at a little over a batter per inning pitched in his career, but his control leaves something to be desired with a high walk rate. The Braves may be looking to get more left-handers in the bullpen, although Torres' platoon splits in his career mean he is unlikely to be cast strictly in a lefty-specialist role.
Torres (the big protective hat guy) was better against RH (.157 BA, .298 OBP) than LH (.268, .406) this year. #Braves— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) December 31, 2015
This is another low risk signing that gives the Braves the chance to see a guy in Spring Training and hopefully assemble a stable of pitchers that can produce more consistent results and a few less meltdowns than the squad from last season. With Jason Grilli and Shae Simmons (among others) coming back from injury, securing bullpen depth is a possible motive with this signing as well.