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Braves sign RHP Yacksel Rios to minor league deal with Spring Training invite, per report

The Braves add upper minors pitching depth, but not much else.

Tamp Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Happy New Year! It’s minor Atlanta Braves transaction time, apparently:

Yacksel Rios may not be an unfamiliar name to Braves fans, as the 29-year-old right-hander has made nine career appearances against the Braves. But, this is pretty much just a minor league depth deal: Rios has a career -0.5 fWAR in 96 23 innings, has never had a season with positive fWAR, and spent last season getting shelled in Triple-A before the White Sox released him from their organization in mid-August.

Overall, Rios was a 12th-round pick of the Phillies in the 2011 MLB Draft, and has been a part of six organizations in total (the Braves will be the seventh), including major league appearances for four of them. His last MLB action was in 2021, where he compiled 0.0 fWAR over 27 13 innings spanning 23 relief appearances, with a 96/114/130 line (ERA-/FIP-/xFIP-).

You can see the appeal of Rios’ stuff, which explains why he keeps bouncing around despite awful performance: he throws really hard (97 mph) and has an interesting pitch mix that includes both a slider and a splitter, though he’s also previously featured a curve and changeup. The problem with him has been the usual: awful command, awful control, way too many sinkers for a guy whose pitches get pretty good “rise,” and some real issues with consistently releasing his secondaries. From a quick review of his limited game action, his command appears abominable, and everything plays down horribly as a result.

But hey, someone’s gotta eat Spring Training innings and hang out in the Gwinnett bullpen. It’s just a shame that Rios hasn’t panned out better, or else there could be catchy slogans like “Yackety Yack, No Comebacks” or something.

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