On the heels of their four-game weekend sweep of the Rockies, the Braves have made a minor roster move:
The Oakland A’s have acquired minor league right-handed pitcher Yacksel Rios from the Atlanta Braves organization for cash considerations.— Oakland A's Communications (@AthleticsPR) June 18, 2023
Rios signed with the Braves on a minor league deal all the way back in January, and spent part of the spring representing Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. He did not make the club out of Spring Training and instead went to Triple-A Gwinnett, where he compiled a 1.46 ERA, 2.74 FIP, and 4.47 xFIP in 21 appearances spanning 24 2⁄3 innings.
Because Rios was never added to Atlanta’s 40-man roster, he never really got a shot to enter into the bullpen shuffle. For various reasons, guys like the newly-acquired Ben Heller, Dereck Rodriguez, and Danny Young have been used to plug relief availability holes, so this move is less a whittling away of potentially-needed depth and more just giving a guy a chance to parlay some minor league performance into a more-likely major league opportunity, and if all goes well, stick on a roster. The Braves have done this sort of solid for various guys in their organization through the years, so one here isn’t too surprising.
With that said, despite striking out nearly a third of batters faced for Gwinnett this year, Rios didn’t really do much to make him an exciting call-up. His walk rate (8.5 percent) and fly ball rate (a sky high, pun sorta intended, 54 percent) made him difficult to trust in anything but a mop-up role, and the Braves have plenty of mop-up options already.
Me? I’m just sad that at one point I wrote, “Yackety sacked, he’ll be back,” but now... he won’t? Alas.
Update - Rios had an opt-out clause in his contract that required the Braves add him to the major league roster tomorrow or trade him to a team that was prepared to add him per a report from the AJC’s Justin Toscano.