Get Ready For More Of This From The Braves

The Braves only have about four or five spots in next year's bullpen filled, with Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters, Eric O'Flaherty, and Peter Moylan headlining the bunch, with perhaps Scott Proctor as a good lock for the pen as well. That leaves the kids to compete for the remaining two spots, though the Braves have said they will likely bring in some additional veteran bullpen help.

Per MLBTR, the Braves have signed minor league free agent Jay Sborz. He is a former second round pick of the Tigers out of high school from the 2003 draft. He made it into one Major League game last June and got shelled in two-thirds of an inning. He wasn't listed on many top prospect lists for the Tigers due to constant injuries, but he has a low-90's fast ball and a good breaking ball. His problem has been control, with a 5.6 walk per nine innings rate in the minors. He'll be just 26 next year and with a live arm he could find his control and be a valuable bullpen piece. The Braves have had a good track record of sorting out pitchers with control issues the last couple of years.

Sborz will get an invite to spring training, and will be competing with Juan Abreu, the newly renamed Jairo Asencio, Kyle Cofield, Erik Cordier, Cory Gearrin, Lee Hyde, Stephen Marek, Cristhian Martinez, and Jose Ortegano for one or two bullpen spots. There are some talented arms in that bunch, but it's a bit lean on proven talent.

My guess is we'll see more of this type of signing from the Braves this off-season -- bringing in relievers on minor league contracts with invites to spring training. There still needs to be at least one more proven addition to the bullpen, and with all these young arms you may see Atlanta trade a couple of these unproven arms for a proven reliever.

Curiously, Billy Wagner is still listed on the Braves 40-man roster. Perhaps this is a bit of wishful thinking from Atlanta, or perhaps they're trying to convince him to return (of course, that could be wishful thinking on my part).

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