In this last week or so before the season starts, we finally get a sense of what all of the work that players, in particular those who came to camp without any guarantee of a job, has done for them in the eyes of the Braves. We have certainly seen non-roster invitees go wild in spring and not get roster spots and guys stink it up but still make it based on their history, but the Braves’ camp this year did genuinely feel like a true competition for bench and bullpen spots as well as for a chance in the rotation.
Based on the Braves’ recent moves, it had become clear that the Braves seemed to prefer Bryse Wilson over Kyle Wright in the rotation, although scheduling a bullpen game early in the season instead of a starter doesn’t exactly instill a ton of confidence in either guy. Now, it looks like the bullpen and bench are similarly coming into focus with the Braves’ most recent moves....plus a dose of just crummy news.
The Braves selected the contracts of Ehire Adrianza & Nate Jones, optioned Bryse Wilson to the alternate training site, outrighted Abraham Almonte to the club’s alternate training site & placed Touki Toussaint on the 60-day injured list with a right shoulder strain.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) March 27, 2021
Before we get to Adrianza and Jones, can we just say how crappy it is that Touki has to go on the 60 injured list? He has had a really good spring and, if we were being honest, probably earned a spot in the bullpen on merit. One hopes that the injury doesn’t linger and isn’t major, because it would be great to see Touki finally find his way...especially for a bullpen that may need some more talent from the right side.
Adrianza has been the talk of the Braves’ camp this year as he has just raked constantly and impressed basically everyone who sees him. He has infield positional versatility and, if this spring is any indication, the guy can really hit as well. A roster spot well earned.
Once Carl Edwards Jr. opted out of his deal with the Braves, it was pretty clear that Nate Jones had gotten the nod as the righty the Braves needed for their bullpen. Jones sports a 1.23 ERA this spring and while small sample size warnings apply here, he has looked the best of the Braves’ options amongst the newcomers.
Abraham Almonte was always a longshot to make the club as the team was already likely to be carrying Ender Inciarte on the bench assuming that the Braves do the right thing and give the starting outfield job to Cristian Pache. With guys like Austin Riley and Johan Camargo also able to fill in in the outfield if needed in addition to the aforementioned Adrianza, there wasn’t a huge need for Almonte. He also wasn’t particular good this spring which made the Braves’ decision even easier.