The Atlanta Braves continued to bullpen arms in hopes of turning a weakness into a strength. The Braves added Chris Martin, Shane Greene and Mark Melancon at the trade deadline this past season. Both Greene and Melancon are under team control in 2020 and now Martin will be returning as well after he agreed to a two-year, $14 million deal with the club Tuesday night.
The Braves now have about a $40 million investment in Will Smith, Melancon, Martin and Greene. They also signed Darren O’Day to a $2.25 million deal earlier this offseason. Greene is arbitration eligible and that has led many to speculate that he could be a candidate to be non-tendered or traded at some point. Alex Anthopoulos addressed that rumor and Greene status on Tuesday per The Athletic’s David O’Brien.
#Braves' Anthopoulos dismissed some reports that Shane Greene and his projected $6-7M sal might be moved now that Will Smith is on team: “We’re trying to have a deep bullpen. We like Shane, we’re excited to have him. We’re trying to add to the bullpen, not subtract."— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) November 19, 2019
Relievers are still a volatile commodity but on paper the Braves have significantly improved their bullpen from where it was on Opening Day in 2019. Now we are just waiting to see what they do with the rest of the roster.
Atlanta also added five players to their 40-man roster on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft. As expected, outfielder Cristian Pache, catcher William Contreras and pitchers Tucker Davidson and Jasseel De La Cruz were all added. The only surprise was left-hander Philip Pfeifer who is 27 and put together a solid season after getting switched back to the rotation.
In total, Atlanta now has 39 players on their 40-man roster. The team could still clear up some space by removing outfielder Rafael Ortega or catcher John Ryan Murphy who appear to be expendable.
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Alex Anthopoulos talked with reporters after Smith’s press conference and reiterated that the team intends to acquire a third baseman before next season. He did not comment directly on where things stand with free agent Josh Donaldson but said that filling the third base spot remains a priority. If they are unable to bring back Donaldson they they could switch gears to another free agent like Mike Moustakas or try to fill the position via trade.
This feels like just due diligence on the team’s part but the Braves are reportedly one team that has shown some interest in free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna.
Tickets are now on sale for the inaugural spring training season at CoolToday Park in North Port. Ticket prices range from $10 to $45.
MLB Free Agency rumors
The Mets have reportedly reached out to free agent catcher Robinson Chirinos. New York is in search of a catcher to pair with Wilson Ramos.
Former Nationals outfielder Gerardo Parra is headed to Japan after signing a deal with the Yomiuri Giants.
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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred met with the media on Tuesday and said that he thinks the sign-stealing scandal is limited to just the Houston Astros. He also added that punishments for the scandal could be severe.
Over 100 members of Congress expressed what was classified as “firm opposition” to the MLB proposal that would eliminate 40 minor league teams. The letter was signed Tuesday and addressed to commissioner Manfred.
Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has returned baseball related activities and took batting practice on Tuesday. Cespedes missed all of the 2019 season after having surgery on both heels. He is entering the final year of the $110 million contract he signed with the Mets.