The MLB free-agent market grew a bit yesterday, as non-tender candidates were announced by all clubs. The Braves said goodbye to a few familiar faces, including fan-favorite Charlie Culberson. But with a few openings still remaining on the roster, could Atlanta look to fill those spots with some spare parts dumped by other teams around the league?
RHP James Hoyt
2019 MLB Stats: 2.16 ERA in 8.1 IP w 10 K
2019 Minor League Stats: 3.43 ERA in 42 IP w 48 K & 4 SV
Career Stats: 4.16 ERA in 80 IP w 104 K
The 33-year-old Hoyt hasn’t gotten much playing time in his career, but his 2019 was good in a small sample size. Still, Cleveland decided there wasn’t a spot on their 40-man for him. He falls under the category of “cheap minor league bullpen help”. Not the sexiest move, but he’s yet to have a real opportunity to prove himself.
LHP Ryan Buchter
2019 MLB Stats: 2.98 ERA in 45.1 IP w 50 K
Career Stats: 2.86 ERA in 214 IP w 235 K
A former Brave and the first of 2 A’s on this list, Buchter had a solid 2019. Appearing for an entire 1 inning with Atlanta back in 2013, he bounced around the league before landing in Oakland. He’s more of a financial casualty than a talent one. He’s had some injury troubles, but he’s a low-cost lefty risk that could fill a need. If he can give the Braves a 2.86 ERA out of the pen, he’d be a perfect signing in my eyes.
RHP Blake Treinen
2019 MLB Stats: 4.91 ERA in 58.2 IP w 59 K
Career Stats: 2.97 ERA in 400 IP w 391 K
A guy I have been VERY adamant about wanting all offseason, Oakland is making a big mistake letting him go. Treinen has one of the nastiest sliders in all of the majors, and I think he’s primed for a bounceback season. There’s only about one bullpen spot left in Atlanta, and I’d love to see them fill it with Treinen. His 2019 wasn’t pretty, but he’s still a year removed from a 0.78 ERA in 80.1 innings and 38 saves. However, given that the Braves have already spent so much on their bullpen, I don’t see them ponying up the cash for another high-priced reliever. Treinen was projected to make $7.5 million in 2020 after arbitration.
LHP Danny Hultzen
2019 MLB Stats: 0.00 ERA in 3.1 IP w 5 K
2019 Minor League Stats: 1.26 ERA in 14.1 IP w 23 K
Career Stats: 0.00 ERA in 3.1 IP w 5 K
A massive disappointment since being taken 2nd overall by Seattle in the 2011 MLB Draft, Hultzen is going to have another home after being cut by Chicago. He’s a guy who could go on a minor league deal, and Atlanta should pounce if he’s available for cheap. There could still be some untapped potential there.
C Kevan Smith
2019 MLB Stats: .251/.318/.393/.710, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 27% CS
Career Stats: .272/.318/.381/.698, 12 HR, 71 RBI, 27% CS
The only non-pitcher on this list, Smith could be a valuable 3rd catcher the Braves stash in Gwinnett if he’s willing to accept that role. With Atlanta non-tendering JR Murphy, there’s a hole there. He’s had injury issues, but his numbers are pretty solid. Smith also played Quarterback at Pitt, so the athleticism is there.