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Braves to consider ‘internal and external’ options in regards to bullpen

Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos discusses state of team’s bullpen

MLB: 2019 Spring Training Media Days Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos met with the media prior to Wednesday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks and discussed the state of the team’s bullpen following the news that closer Arodys Vizcaino would be lost for the remainder of the season. Vizcaino underwent shoulder surgery on Wednesday where doctors cleaned up his labrum and also removed scar tissue from the shoulder joint.

Anthopoulos discussed the amount of turnover the team has had in the bullpen and indicated that the team would look at both internal and external options

“There’s been a ton of turnover from the beginning of camp until now. We’re going to look to do what we can both internally and externally,” Anthopoulos said. “We’ll try to do some things there.”

The situation in the bullpen has become more dire as the season has gone along. Sam Freeman was let go before the end of spring training. Darren O’Day made just one spring appearance and was then shut down due soreness in his forearm. A.J. Minter began the season on the injured list and has recently returned but hasn’t quite looked like himself in the early going. The team placed left-hander Jonny Venters on the injured list earlier this week after he struggled to start the season.

Internal options could include one of Atlanta’s young starters. Anthopoulos discussed the need to keep guys like Touki Toussaint and others stretched out at the start of the season given the amount of injuries the team was dealing with in the rotation. Now with Kevin Gausman back and Mike Foltynewicz nearing a return, the team might consider transitioning a starter (or more) into a bullpen role. Anthopoulos said, “If we find we are in a position where we are comfortable with our starter depth, then maybe we can then consider putting one of those guys (young starters) in the bullpen.”

External options include of course free agent Craig Kimbrel who remains available. Kimbrel’s asking price has reportedly dropped in recent days but it remains to be seen whether or not the Braves are willing to meet his asking price as well as forfeit their second round pick in the June Draft and the bonus slot money that is attached to the selection.

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