The annual signing of minor leaguers continues. Via MLBTR we find out that the Braves have signed several minor league bats, likely only to fill out their triple-A squad, but as Brooks Conrad proved during the regular season last year, a team can find value in a career minor leaguer.
The Braves signed speedy center fielder Jose Constanza, formerly with the Cleveland organization. He hit .319/.373/.394 last year and all of his value is tied up in his stolen base ability -- 34 for 40 last year and an 81% success rate for his career.
Shawn Bowman is a 26 year old minor league slugger who hit 22 home runs for the Blue Jays double-A team last year. He's purely a minor league signing, as he's never reached the triple-A level. He is apparently a plus defender, though his bat still need some work. He was originally in the Mets organization.
One of the more promising signings is infielder/outfielder Ed Lucas. He hit .307/.398/.480 for the Royals triple-A team last year. Though he'll be 29 last year he's a solid defender who can play any infield or outfield position, has a little pop, and good plate discipline. He could figure into the backup infielder mix for the Braves in spring training.
The last signing could also figure into the utility mix, and this guy really is a unique utility player. Wilkin Castillo, who has seen time with the Reds in the Majors the last two years, can play the infield, outfield, and catcher. Though he plays second and third like a catcher would, he does represent some flexibility for the team. Unfortunately his bat does not have much in it.
No one besides Lucas who really stands out to me, but these are still some interesting minor league veterans.
Also in the news this morning, apparently the Brewers are making a push for Eric Hinske, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown. Hinske hasn't spent too much time in one place the last few years, so it will be interesting to see if he decides to return to Atlanta.
In all likelihood the Braves will choose to part ways with Derrek Lee today. This being the deadline for teams to offer players arbitration. We'll also find out about Matt Diaz and Peter Moylan, two guys on the bubble for Atlanta.