This is bad | Braves | Achy elbow keeps Byrd sidelined

You expect some aches and pains during spring training. But this situation with Byrd is worrisome. He’s certainly not going to be ready to start the season… Perhaps even worse news is that Bobby indeed is leaning towards going with 12 pitchers to start the season. It’s dumb, but he (like most managers) is paranoid about being caught short a pitcher. So he carries an extra pitcher who won’t get used except in blowouts and 15-inning games rather than a pinch-hitter who can avoid getting into 15-inning games.

If Byrd is out for an extended period, that would be good news for whoever the “fifth” starter is, presumably Horacio Ramirez. I’m convinced that Kevin Millwood developed because he got regular work as a rookie when John Smoltz was hurt, unlike most of the Braves rookie fifth starters.

If my calculations are correct, the Braves will need to clear two or three spots on the 40-man roster for players currently on Richmond’s roster — Julio Franco, Darren Bragg, and maybe Jesse Garcia. (There are also more remote possibilities, like Bo Porter, Donzell McDonald, and Ramon Castro.) That would mean (if I understand the rules correctly) three men currently on the Atlanta roster would have to be released or go through waivers, or go on the 60-day DL. I think cutting Vinny Castilla would be a good way to clear one spot, but that’s not going to happen. The Braves could try to swing a trade using one of the young arms like Trey Hodges, but they rarely trade advanced prospects for young prospects… It’s not unusual for this numbers crunch to happen. If I recall correctly, the Braves needed four spots — for Franco, Bragg, Darren Holmes, and Chris Hammond — last year.

4 thoughts on “This is bad”

  1. Interesting, Mac, I hadn’t considered the roster limitations. I would think they may try to start Matt Franco in Richmond again, though beyond that I have no idea at all.


  2. Matt’s on the 40-man, though. They’d have to get him through waivers, and after last year that wouldn’t happen, and even if it did he’d probably declare free agency. They could leave Julio in AAA, but that’s not likely. If they left Bragg, they’d have no reserve outfielder and nobody with any experience in center behind Andruw. The only other outfielders on the 40-man have already been optioned out.

    For whatever reason, the Braves have 22 pitchers on the 40-man roster, and only 18 position players. Probably just how it shook out. But looking at it, they almost have to either DFA Gryboski or send Spurling back to the Pirates.

  3. Two thoughts–1)We all know not to get excited about spring training numbers; but this blurb from AJC was too choice to pass up:
    Vinny Castilla, a former Devil Ray, was booed each time he came to the plate. He went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a pop-up and grounded into a double play, dropping his spring average to .187 with no extra-base hits in 32 at-bats.
    Is there a point at which J.S. learns the term “sunk cost”?
    2)If they could/would ditch Vinny, that would help; however, considering the most likely outcome (that is, that the S.V.O.D {Sucking Vortex Of Doom–still my favorite nickname from last year’s polls–well, that and ‘Mrs. Bobby Cox’ for a player who shall remain nameless} remains on the roster), I’d say give Spurling back to the Pirates, as he does not seem to be an irreplaceable type player.

  4. With all those pitchers on the 40 man roster there has to be somebody with a sore arm they can slide onto the 60 day DL to make room for Bragg and Franco. If there’s not, then I’m sure management could – ahem – suggest to a guy that had a poor spring that he has a sore arm.

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