Infielder Wes Helms was signed by the Atlanta Braves today, after being released by the Florida Marlins last week. Helms will report to triple-A Gwinnett and likely join the Atlanta club when rosters expand in September. He should benefit from some regular at-bats, as he was hitting rather poorly when Florida released him.
This could be the right-handed bench bat that the Braves have been looking for -- the right-handed version of Eric Hinske. Helms is no stranger to being a pinch-hitter, coming to the plate 389 times as a pinch hitter in his career, and compiling a .259/..336/.411 slash line with seven home runs. In 2009, Helms was one of the best pinch hitters in baseball, compiling a .347 average in that role.
Helms started his career with the Braves, making his Major League debut with the team back in 1998, after being drafted by Atlanta in the 10th round of the 1994 draft. He is primarily a first baseman and third baseman, but he has played some left field in his career, though he is not mobile enough to play it on a regular basis. At 35 years old, Helms could be a useful bat of the bench if he can sort out his swing. His 2011 stats with the Marlins are below:
|2011 - Wes Helms||69||110||10||21||5||0||0||6||11||35||0||0||.191||.276||.236|