While the play has been suspended, the transaction log for MLB teams has not. It is yet to be seen when the Braves will once again take the field due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and how many games will ultimately take place, but we now have a relatively better idea of what the Opening Day roster will look like.
For starters, when the season resumes, Cole Hamels should be ready to go. This likely takes Kyle Wright and Felix Hernandez out of the running for a rotation spot.
However, a minor transaction fell under the radar late last week with all the madness going on in the world of sports. The Braves optioned bullpen candidate Patrick Weigel to AAA Gwinnett:
It got overlooked yesterday amid the chaos, but #Braves made two more roster moves: RH Patrick Weigel and catcher Alex Jackson were optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) March 14, 2020
This is relatively surprising, as Weigel was making an impressive bid for one of the open bullpen spots, especially after the team optioned both Phillip Pfeifer and Jacob Webb to the minors. Perhaps Weigel was robbed of an opportunity to win a chance due to this outbreak and suspension of play.
If Atlanta’s usage of Weigel this spring is any indicator, the Braves may have significant plans for him in 2020 despite not making the cut. His offspeed stuff looked devastating, and Weigel likely would already be in Atlanta by now if not for undergoing Tommy John Surgery. He certainly looks ready to contribute. Unfortunately for the 25-year-old, the reality is that Josh Tomlin is the favorite for one of the two bullpen spots as an incumbent, and the last place will likely go to a left-hander with only one on the roster. Chris Rusin and Grant Dayton remain the two southpaws at major league camp, and Dayton might have the edge, as he was reliable in relief last season — even if it was a small sample size — and already has a spot on the 40-man roster. Weigel will likely join the rotation down in AAA.