Just before the calendar turned to December, the Braves announced they would be non-tendering a surprising name from the organization — right-handed pitching prospect Jasseel De La Cruz. This was a guy who was widely viewed as a top 20 prospect in the organization before the 2021 season, some even had him inside the top 10.
De La Cruz did battle through injuries this past season, and when he was on the mound, it wasn’t pretty, but non-tendering seemed like a rash decision after one forgettable season. Well it looks like the Braves had a plan all along, and this was nothing more than a procedural move. According to Baseball America’s minor-league transaction log, the Braves brought back De La Cruz on a minor-league contract.
According to this, the Braves re-signed RHP Jasseel De La Cruz, who was non-tendered on 11/30 to remove him from the 40-man roster.https://t.co/FLDkGbr7bW
— Matt Chrietzberg (@BravesMattC) January 14, 2022
So why would the Braves do this? The reasoning is simple: De La Cruz was occupying a spot on the 40-man roster. By releasing him and re-signing him, he’s no longer taking up a spot on the 40-man roster, allowing the Braves to sign another player who is more ready for the majors.
This news should excite all Braves fans. De La Cruz may have had an abysmal 2021, posting a 7.03 ERA over 56.1 innings, but the sample size is small and injuries undoubtedly played a part in his struggles. He’s just a year removed from recording a 3.25 ERA between three levels (A-AA), and there’s a chance he could contribute in Atlanta as early as 2022.