Decisions Loom for Braves

The Braves have a much needed 2-day break from baseball before starting a 10-game stretch against the Giants, the Dodgers, and the Rockies. And while the Rockies, on paper, don’t seem like a threat, they play like the Dodgers when they’re at home. After the 5th game of this stretch, the calendar will turn to September and each team, if they so choose will get to expand their roster to 28. I fully expect the Braves to take advantage of the +2, but it might come as more of a +4-2 as I expect, at least, 4 new faces on the 28-man roster. First, let’s take a look at some players that might be out of an MLB job when September rolls around or even sooner.

The Ax is Calling

The mop-up men of the MLB will never have a WAR that reflects their value. Pitchers that come in and know their role is to make a loss a little less painful hold a lot of value to their teammates who can be held back for more valuable innings. Unfortunately for Josh Tomlin, he hasn’t been able to replicate 2020 and, if he is the mop man, he needs to file a suit against the mop company because he’s leaving the excrement all over the field when he leaves. Whether it’s September 1st or Sunday when Ian Anderson could be slotted in to pitch, I don’t foresee Tomlin sticking around.

  • Subtract 1, Roster at 25

Abraham Almonte puts up some really good ABs. Truly. I’ve enjoyed watching him hit this year and have been pleasantly surprised by his production. Off the bench, a .735 OPS has real value and that’s where Almonte sits at this very moment. Unfortunately for him, he’s relegated to a corner OF spot and Guillermo Heredia is the only current OFer that can play CF at an above average clip (well, I think Adam Duvall could but the Braves seemingly have no desire to see that happen). Heredia will also have value off the bench as a RH hitter that hits LHP well and that could work out to the Braves advantage when Eddie Rosario gets added. Sorry Almonte…you’ve been a pretty good bench player, but there’s no room at this inn.

  • Subtract 1, Roster at 24

Braves Roster, Party of 4

There are a 2 spots that seem self-explanatory and whether they happen Friday or 9/1, it’s a safe bet that Ian Anderson and Eddie Rosario will be added to the roster. Peanut thinks Rosario will not be added until roster expansion, which was my guess as well.

From there, it gets interesting and while I think there could be a few trials that the Braves could roll out, there are several on the 40-man that I don’t see making an appearance in September. Those are:

That leaves the following candidates:

The most obvious option on this list is William Contreras and I think that happens. However, I’m not sure that it happens right when September comes as they might want him to catch regularly to develop a little more before being added. Mid-September seems more likely.

I’m sure you’re seeing what I’m seeing. Who the heck comes up? Kyle Muller makes sense if Braves want to limit his innings. The rest of the list doesn’t do it for me and if forced to make a decision, I guess I’d give Yoan Lopez a shot. However, there’s a lot of spare change here and I don’t think anyone would be upset if Roark, Arcia, or Lopez were let go. In fact, they probably deserve MLB chances elsewhere. With that being said, I fully expect Sean Newcomb or Jacob Webb get the call but there are other options that aren’t on the 40-man.

Keeping Two Eyes on MILB Promotions

Bryce Elder got a surprise promotion last week to AAA and ’tis the season for promotions and cups of coffees for players. While I don’t expect the Braves to promote Bryce Elder to the bigs, there is an eye-popping force at AA that could get a shot at AAA soon. Until that happens, Indigo Diaz will be part of fantasy, not reality. However, if that AAA promotion happens, fantasy might come reality and that would be a fun September development.

From there, guys like sidewinder Trevor Kelley or LHPs Thomas Burrows and Dylan Lee could be options to get battle tested to see if they can get MLB hitters out.

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

41 thoughts on “Decisions Loom for Braves”

  1. Camargo Cult, I like the new name. But I would think Camargo is going to be non-tendered at some point — maybe even this year — so you might have to think of a new one soon.

  2. I personally disagree! Game, Blauser was a fantastic name for years. And for some reason, Bill Pecota’s name still gets used to this day :)

  3. Does anybody know if Bill Pecota and Biff Pocoroba were ever in the same place at the same time?

  4. I don’t like the limited roster expansion. Allowing bigger rosters gave non contenders a chance to audition players for the coming year and in some cases improved their team. The bigger rosters for contenders let them rest some of their key players. Not a fan of just 2 additional players.

  5. I definitely liked Game, Blauser. Dave Chapelle and a timeless Braves player coming together seemlessly.

  6. @5: I agree with you, except to the extent that the expanded rosters ruined a lot of scope for managerial strategy. Carrying a fast guy with no other skills was unthinkable for five months and then was a critical element of September. There’s a line between getting a good chance to look at people and actually having a different game. While the main reason to restrict team size is money (as always) I think there’s a case to be made that teams that got by with four bench players for 5 months, and thrived, shouldn’t suddenly face competition from teams that show up with 10 bench players in September.

  7. The only thing even remotely as satisfying as a Braves streak is a Mets implosion. The finger-pointing at CitiField tonight was outstanding. We’ll see how long Taijuan Walker remains a Met. [Watching the studio guys pound on Rojas now for taking Walker out.]

  8. The Mets & Phils just don’t seem interested any more, do they? If we hold our weight vs SF & LA, we might just be alright.

    From previous thread…
    Yes, a birthday-week vacation in Key West. (I turned 58 today.) Lotsa seafood, swimming, stumbling around, etc.

    Actually, ended up going to the Hemingway House today. Very cool to see the room where he worked. Somehow, Hemingway got up at 6 am every day in his 2nd floor bedroom, ventured across a catwalk to another 2-story building that housed his writing studio. Of course, I thought, “Man, there must’ve been quite a few hangovers in that room.” He’d write about 700 words each day, then go fishing.

    The house is across the street from an old lighthouse, which, we were told, helped him get back home after a late night at Sloppy Joe’s or some other speakeasy. Quite a life.

  9. @12 Happy Birthday!! I really want to see the 6 toed cats that roam the grounds of his house. I’ve always been fascinated by their history.

    @13 I’m glad to hear that. Jace was one of my favorites.

  10. Speaking of former Braves, Bryse Wilson had a nice game for the Pirates. 5 innings, 7 Ks, no runs.

  11. @16 Good for him, I won’t forget his NLCS game. Hope he puts it all together without the Gwinnett shuttle interfering.

  12. @12 Have a beer for us as that’s where we got married

    Had plans to go back last year for 20th wedding anniversary, but other events intervened

    Also just seen that the one and only Shane Greene got the save for the Dodgers tonight/this morning. Their faith in making him the TENTH pitcher used was obviously warranted…

  13. Happy Birthday, ububba – KW is fun!
    Wow, the Mets and Phillies…

    Thanks, Ryan for the roster breakdown. Newk has done well in a kind of closer role in Gwinett. I think he could be a good to great reliever for the Braves.

  14. @ 12/15

    Moved to Florida myself in the low seventies so had an early chance to check out that special house too. Yes, almost overwhelmed you when you imagined what was written there, in that room. (Did you get to see the recent Ken Burns documentary on him, 3 parts? Very well done, learned a lot). Many shots of the house itself, the garden, the pool which he apparently attacked with vigor every day.

    Profound subjects, beautiful simple sentences. There seems to be general agreement that was his essence as a writer.

    Can there be a baseball analogy here? The game itself and its history clearly can provide the profundity for those so moved. Who then, above all its greatest practitioners, kept it simple?

  15. coop…it sounds so young, doesn’t it…from our perspective! Our low hanging fruit is harder yet to reach. You yourself have done something I still cannot contemplate, making the radical adjustment to the loss of a dear life partner while maintaining such a positive bonhomie here towards all. Bless you.

    ububba… Happy birthday! there was a period here a year or two back when it seemed to me you’d disappeared from here, Yanks maybe? But Alex reassured me you were still in our camp! 58 is still a bit of a romp you know, enjoy.

  16. timo
    our European correspondent
    despite the Yankee atrophy
    rumor insists he’s not at all despondent.

  17. EDIT

    Have the European Covid rules re accessing flights to the US got any better to let you come here to see a game or two? Or is the problem at the American end?

  18. Blazon, 58 is a long time ago.

    Climbing the mountain is more fun looking back than it was pulling my way up day by day. I could have used today’s perspective then.

    Another off day?

  19. Heredia is no better fielder than Almonte, but Almonte, although a left fielder only, is a switch hitter, and keeping him would make more sense than keeping Heredia.

  20. Heredia, by every metric (including my eye test), is a much better fielder than Almonte. He also fills a need as he’s a good RH bench bat that hits LHP well. With Joc, Rosario, and Ehire, Almonte’s become redundant. However, that doesn’t mean I think he has no value. He’s put up quality ABs nearly all year.

  21. Happy birthday, ububba. Just think: if you were born on Pluto instead of here, you still wouldn’t have had your first birthday… and you’d be really cold. And the baseball there sucks.

    I watched the Dodger game through the 14th, and I’m exhausted. Missing a Shane Greene appearance, though…. I didn’t even know they’d signed him. It was his second appearance for the Dodgers — the first was a far more typical 2 earned runs in 1/3rd of an inning. Maybe they fixed him after that….

  22. Happy belated, Ububba!

    Do the daiquiris taste any better down there?

  23. Thanks, y’all… 2 off-days, so weird.

    Everything tastes better down here (this week)… pretty humid, but that’s what the pool’s for, I suppose.

    I’d forgotten about the 6-toed cats. They have 70 cats on the property & the vast majority are of the 6-toed variety — looks like furry hands… in mittens, maybe. They’re everywhere & they all have celebrity names… from Betty Grable to Shoeless Joe Jackson. So, if you’re a cat-lover, that’s the joint.

    Baseball on Pluto? OK, now you’ve completely ruined me for the day. But I guess, as a Plutonian, yes, I’d still be an infant.

    Yanks? Nah… I just have tickets & go to the games w/ friends/co-workers. Not really a fan, but going to games there can be an often-interesting study of sociology.

    And the Hemingway/baseball link would be Joe DiMaggio… remember “The Old Man & the Sea”?

    Still swinging, make no mistake.

  24. In the era of starting a runner on second base we haven’t seen many 16 inning games.

    I didn’t watch the game, but it seems hard not to score for 5 innings in extras, and some funky stuff was going on. As an example, in that Dodgers/Padres game there were 11 intentional walks in extra innings. Yikes!

  25. The Padres ran out of of position players in the 9th, so every time the pitcher’s spot was within 2 with two outs, the Dodgers issued two intentional walks to bring up a pinch-hitting starting pitcher. Once the Dodgers ran out of players, the Padres did the same thing.

  26. 24/25 blazon, really good to see you back here and thanks for checking. Yes, still the same, the US is not allowing Europeans without green cards into the country unfortunately although the EU is open for Americans – for now. Although that, too, may be changing again due to the increase in cases in your country. Either way, sucks. Really miss the US and the Braves. Glad I got you guys.

  27. @17 That playoff game was amazing and I do think that shuttle bus negatively affected his development. He was always a favorite prospect of mine and I’m happy he’s playing for a team that’s giving him a chance. Hopefully the Pirates have a better pitching coach than the Braves too.

    @31 Yes, I’m a cat lover and I’ve heard about those cats for years. Can’t wait to visit them and see their home.

  28. I still think options may win out and Heredia goes down so that Almonte is not DFA’d. Joc plays an adequate CF. My guess is that once the MiL season ends then Pache will come back before Heredia.

    Also, can anyone tell me why Ozuna is not on the 60-day IL so that we have an extra 40-man slot to use?

    I don’t want to see Yoan Lopez. He just cracked at Gwinnett after Muller’s outstanding performance.

    I would like to see both Anderson and Muller back getting regular starts. If there is anyone to give a shot to, I’d like it to be Demeritte. He’s more of a jack-of-all trades than even Arcia and supposed to be a primo fielder in both the IF and OF. And he’s got the three true outcomes down pat.

    All things considered, Anderson, Rosario, and Muller have to be locks. The 4th slot is probably Contreras. If Santana is sent down then that brings up a lot of possibilities. If you want to limit his innings then Muller can be the long reliever and mop-up guy. Seems like our bullpen would be a lot better rested if we have a guy that could go two innings (Muller, Ynoa, Smyly) regularly when the SP goes 4 or 5.

    Note that Smyly is 32. Tomlin was 32 in his last year of regularly starting. Certainly, Smyly lines up as a new Tomlin by next year. He’s already self-limited to 4-5 innings per start.

  29. My guess is that we’ll wait until rosters expand to call Rosario up. That will allow us to keep Almonte and Heredia and not make any additional roster moves. Apparently Rosario looks like he’s ready, but they can probably justify another 4 or 5 days, given how bad he started. This would be Wednesday or Thursday.

  30. Yeah, I agree with td. I think they will wait until September to activate Rosario (AA has said as much) and just keep Almonte.

    I do think Tomlin’s days are numbered.

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