Braves Forced to Make a Roster Move Today & AA Speaks on Trade Deadline

Yesterday marked the last day that MLB teams could carry an extra relief pitcher. Today, all MLB teams will be forced to go even-Steven with 13 position players and 13 pitchers. While I can understand the reasoning behind the move from the MLBPA, carrying 13 position players in the universal DH era seems silly as no team really needs a 4-man bench anymore.

Also, Alex Anthopoulos discussed trade deadline needs, and even with the additions of Eddie Rosario and Ozzie Albies (hopefully) before the end of the season, AA says that a LH bat is, as of now, the only outstanding need for the team.

Today’s piece will look at position player candidates that could get the add today, as well as the pitcher that might make their trip back to AAA, to another team, or at worst, gets the dreaded DFA. Lastly we’ll discuss potential LH bats that could fit on the Braves roster.

Who Comes?

Earlier this week, Jacob Webb was DFA’d, but stayed in the org and was outrighted to AAA. Anthopoulos seems to be a pro at these moves and, more often than not, is able to build AAA depth for the MLB team. Almost the entire Gwinnett Stripers Roster consists of guys that could come up to the MLB in a pinch, be DFA’d, and return once again to AAA as depth. When Alex Dickerson struggled to open the season, AA DFA’d him, no one picked him up, and now he’s at AAA, not on the 40-man.

Unless a trade occurs, the easy additions are those that are already 40-man rostered that could fill a need. With Ozzie on the shelf, the need of an infield backup was filled by Phil Gosselin last week, therefore the Braves could get creative and figure out a way to get another bat into the lineup. The easy guess would be to recall Travis Demeritte. However, if the Braves wanted to try out some LH hitting bench options, they could bring back Alex Dickerson but that would cost an active roster spot. They could also do the same with Mike Ford. However, neither of these guys are hitting particularly well at AAA.

An outside the box idea would be to bring up a 3rd catcher to free up the bats of both Travis d’Arnaud and William Contreras. And while he’s not left-handed, Chadwick Tromp jumps out as an ideal candidate, as he’s strong defensively and could be utilized in a pinch.

The smart money is still on Travis Demeritte, but Kramer Robertson could be on the table, as well as a trade candidate.

EDIT: The move was Mike Ford. It happened about 3 minutes before I posted.

Who Goes?

Unless there’s someone that’s hurt and we don’t know it (which seems to happen a lot under AA’s watch), the logical choice for removal is Jesus Cruz. Cruz has been with the team since May 30th, but has only thrown 6 innings of relief, albeit they’ve been solid innings. Cruz also has MILB options and moving him down and moving someone up like Demeritte allows Anthopoulos to keep his current 40-man intact, and I’m sure AA would see that as a win.

Braves Desire a LH Bat

Last year’s deadline, the Braves went all-in…sort of. With Ronald Acuna Jr. on the shelf, the team acquired Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario, Adam Duvall, and Richard Rodriguez. 4 of those 5 produced outrageously for the Braves and helped grab the Braves their 4th World Series trophy.

This year, the needs are much less. The team is destroying baseball and rank in the top 3 in most of Baseball Savant’s predictive offensive stats. And while the pitching, especially starting, does not rank as high, they’re still in the top-10 of predictive stats, which signifies that a lot of things are going right, and the team has been on the bad side of luck more often than not. The starting pitching, relief pitching, lineup, and bench are as solid as its been since the ’90s run and this team is set for a real run once again.

So if you’re Anthopolous and are looking at needs, there’s not many. If he operates with a checklist, most everything is checked. Make no mistake though, the Braves really do need another LH bat. The team OPS against LHP is a strong .824. And while it’s not horrible, that OPS drops to .728 against RHP. And even more unfortunate, the left-handed hitters on the team are guilty of dragging that OPS down as they’re collectively hitting .698 against RHP.

It’s hard to predict Alex, but if I were a betting man, I’d put good money that Anthopoulos isn’t looking for that big splash that sells the rest of the farm, as he already made that with Matt Olson. What he’ll be looking for is an under the radar dude that has strong peripherals, decent numbers, and something for Kevin Seitzer to unlock.

My top candidates: Victor Reyes and Daniel Vogelbach

Reyes was an international signee by the Braves back in 2011 and was traded for the 75th pick in the 2015 draft, which turned out to be A.J. Minter. Reyes can play all outfield positions, but more importantly, is hitting the ball really hard this year despite carrying pedestrian numbers.

Daniel Vogelbach, aka caucasian Panda, also hits the ball hard and the Braves could use a LH slugger.

According to Statcast, both have been very unlucky in 2022 and are due an upswing in numbers very soon.

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

50 thoughts on “Braves Forced to Make a Roster Move Today & AA Speaks on Trade Deadline”

  1. Choosing between the two, I’d choose Reyes. He still has all his arb years and might be a good replacement for Heredia (aka a LH Heredia). We just watched Vogelbach during the Pirates series and I was not impressed even though he had a couple of big hits.

    At some point, Heredia has to be expendable to be able to improve. I’m actually still in on the idea of Benintendi/Merrifield (one or both) but I agree that this move would require a big piece of the farm and Benintendi is a pure rental (albeit one that, if signed, could be very productive in the future). His presence is much less needed if Rosario comes back full tilt. In any event, in the next offseason, Benintendi would be a great replacement for Duvall.

  2. Ford, Gosselin, Heredia do not a good bench make. I have to guess that the Braves are relying on both of Rosario and Albies coming back to make a big impact. When Matzek comes back, Lee will go out, but having both Lee and Cruz at AAA is good depth. That’s another reason Reyes is a better option, he still has minor league options.

  3. Thinking about ring ceremonies for visiting players from Nick’s recap: The Braves have 15 such ceremonies to go through — Alex Jackson, Bryce Wilson, Carl Edwards Jr, Chris Martin, Cristian Pache, Drew Smyly, Ehire Adrianza, Freddie Freeman, Joc Pederson, Jesse Chavez, Johan Camargo, Jorge Soler, Sean Newcomb, Shane Greene and Stephen Vogt.

    (I’m not sure all of them earned a ring; others, like Sandoval, will have to get their rings in the mail, and Chavez came back before we played the Cubs in Atlanta.)

    15 is a lot of players not returning from a World Series Champtionship, but it’s not close to a record. To be discussed later in the week….

  4. @3 Looking forward to it, JonathanF. I imagine the Marlins will be playing a major role in your piece.

  5. I’m surprised they called up Ford instead of Kramer Robertson. He brings nothing to the table and can’t even play multiple positions.

    Edit: Well, he’s left handed.

  6. @5 I think the only value this bench spot has considering how little the rest of the bench gets into games is for maybe someone to run into a fastball if they get an AB. And you probably want to be able to DFA the player and not miss them.

    Which the broader point is really interesting: when all of your guys play every day and now you have a DH, your bench is really not an important part of your team. Ozuna played in every game and led the league in PAs in the one (albeit, shortened) season in which he was a full-time DH (2020). And all the other guys, short of an injury, are going to play every day. Where’s Rosario going to play now that you have Harris? Contreras can’t even get in the lineup enough. Simple answer is over Duvall unless his recent hot streak (.302/.388/.814 in 12 games before yesterday) continues.

    Speaking of which, do we know anything about Rosario’s return? Looks like he was taking BP on the field as early as 5 days ago (he hit Wash with a line drive).

  7. 6 — I just prefer having 2 guys who can play the non first base infield in reserve. Plus another guy like Robertson who can pinch run and play shortstop. As it is, Arcia is the only guy besides Dansby on the team who can play short.

    And I’d guess Rosario would have to rotate between LF and DH with Ozuna and Duvall and platoon with matchups. That is, if he can actually recover from his eye problem.

  8. Drew Waters is hitting .254/299/411 while repeating AAA. Does he drop like a rock on the midseason prospect lists?

  9. @8

    Plus, he’s been passed by Harris.

    So yes, it’s hard to not see him as trade bait at this point.

  10. @9 You couldn’t possibly trade him at this point. He would get so little that it wouldn’t be worth it.

  11. I’m not on record as saying this because I don’t post much but I wanted to trade Waters like 2 or 3 years ago. For some reason he always makes me think of our old friend Success!

  12. My Giants fan buddy was trash talking Fried last month, so I’m hoping I’m gonna enjoy this night.

  13. If we could get anything out of Ozuna (and to a lesser extent, Duvall), this lineup would be impregnable. As of TdA’s most recent bomb, everyone in the lineup is at .800+ OPS except Ozuna and Duvall.

  14. Kinda wish Minter started this inning.

    Edit: Guess he’s not available if Will Smith is getting the call. Hancock should not be getting the first call in high leverage. He’s literally the worst reliever on the team right now.

  15. Oh good…Will Smith with the bases loaded and nobody out. Not even I think this is a good idea.

  16. Even though Smith let an inherited runner score, I can’t complain about his performance. Regarding Ford, he looked like he was going to be really good when he came up for the Yankees in 2019. Since then he’s hit like Rafael Belliard as a first baseman.

  17. I am a bunter in that situation with a guy like Dansby that can handle the bat. Things didn’t work out swinging away so let’s get ‘em in the 9th

  18. I would normally be for bunting there, but Dansby is currently our best hitter and nearly ripped the cover off the ball, so I don’t really have any complaints.

  19. The shift against Joc was stupid and might cost us the game. He did that same thing last year for us. Why would we do that?

  20. Kenley is struggling to put guys away with 2 strikes.

    Edit: he stopped throwing the curveball and got out of it

  21. It didn’t wind up mattering, but we also shifted ourselves out of any double play chance in the eighth. It just didn’t make any sense at all.

  22. Kenley comes from the “let’s give the fans their money’s worth” school of relief.

  23. Some beautiful defense. Matt Olson and Will Smith hooked up on a simply magical play at first base. We got some timely pop-ups. Honestly, I’m pretty sure that if you ran a Monte Carlo simulation of those innings, we wouldn’t have held them right there in most of them. But I’ll take it! Great win against a very good team, and we keep pace with the Mets.

  24. Had the feel of a playoff game in that both teams really rose to the occasion. Sweeet walkoff at home. Boys look like they’re having fun!!

  25. I definitely prefer this Braves team that wins most of the time versus that early spring version that only wins about half the time.

  26. Idle stupid question of the day. What are the odds Olson scores if Gosselin doesn’t pinch run?

  27. @40 don’t forget Duvall’s catch with the bases loaded. I wonder how often a LF makes that catch, not even considering he was shaded to center.

    @44 I think Olson basically never scores on what turned out to be the game winning hit. He is slooooow.

  28. @44 I’m very glad Snitker pinch-ran for Olson. He wouldn’t have scored on that hit, unless they botched the throw / tag.

  29. Excellent win last night, the sort of win that does more than just the +1 in the win column

    Having watched the condensed game this morning, a quick word on Chip

    I like the “contact to damage ratio” phrase that he is using for TDA

    My fear is that it will get overused in the very near future, and then be applied in less than suitable situations

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