Atlanta Braves Re-Sign Hughes And McGill In A Flurry Of Minor League Transactions

Veteran lefty Dusty Hughes returns for a second year in the Braves organization. - CB Wilkins

Braves re-sign Hughes and McGill, sign Hoyt, release 10 players, and lose 6 Minor League free agents to new teams.

The Braves have re-signed left handed reliever Dusty Hughes and catcher Shawn McGill to Minor League contracts. Both had become free agents earlier this month and were free to sign with any team. This season with AAA Gwinnett, the 30 year old Hughes went 3-2 with a 3.31 ERA, a 1.61 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, 5.1 BB/9, and 1.5 K/BB in 65.1 innings over 54 appearances, collecting 4 saves. He has a 4.99 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP in 83 innings over 80 appearances in the Majors with the Royals and Twins from 2009 to 2011.

McGill, who will turn 29 in February, began his career by spending 2 seasons in the Phillies organization, then spent 3 seasons with the independent Lincoln Saltdogs before the Braves signed him in the middle of the 2010 season. This year he bounced between High A Lynchburg, AA Mississippi, and Gwinnett, combining to hit .178 with a .511 OPS, 4 doubles, 2 homers, and 13 RBI in just 112 plate appearances. During the season he expressed a love of the Braves organization, but a need for more consistent playing time, at the very least spending the season as a backup with one team, a need that might force him to change teams through free agency. His re-signing with the Braves seems like an indication that he'll have a more settled role in the organization in 2013, likely serving as the backup catcher for Mississippi or Gwinnett.

New Players

The Braves have signed right handed reliever James Hoyt to a Minor League contract. The 26 year old, who stands 6'6", began his professional career in 2011 with the independent Yuma Scorpions, going 2-0 with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP 37.1 innings over 19 appearances. He began 2012 with the independent Edinburg Roadrunners, posting a 1.04 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP in 17.1 innings over 12 appearances, then moved on to the independent Wichita Wrangers, where he went 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in 10.1 innings over 11 appearance. He finished the season with Olmecas de Tabasco in the Mexican League, going 0-2 with a 2.02 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP in 13.1 innings over 11 appearances. In 78.1 career innings he's averaged 11.9 K/9, but he's also allowed 5.3 BB/9. He'll likely compete for a bullpen spot with Mississippi or Lynchburg.

Released Players

The Braves have released right handed pitcher Kevin McKague, left handed pitchers Matt Fouch, Elvin Garcia, and Mike Hashem, catcher Ryan Query, infielders Mike Spina, Luis Madrid, and Angel Vargas, and outfielders Emmanuel Daniel and Kurt Fleming.

The 23 year old McKague was drafted in the 23rd round this season out of the Army, officially the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 5 appearances in the GCL, he had a 15.19 ERA and a 2.06 WHIP in 5.1 innings. Fouch was also drafted out of the Army, in the 34th round in 2010. That season he threw 9 shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 10 in 6 appearances for Danville and Rome before he was forced to leave to fulfill his military obligation. Now 25 year old, he hasn't pitched since.

The Braves signed Garcia as a free agent out of Nicaragua and the 22 year old spent 3 seasons in the system, going 2-2 with a 4.18 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in 28 innings over 12 appearances in the GCL this year. Hashem was drafted in the 35th round in 2011 and after going 0-2 with a 5.30 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 18.2 innings over 14 appearances in the GCL that season, he was 3-1 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP in 20 innings over 16 appearances for Danville in 2012.

The Braves signed Query as an undrafted free agent prior to the 2010 season and the 25 year old made it as high as AA Mississippi. He split 2012 between Rome and Lynchburg, batting .217 with a .585 OPS, 8 doubles, 3 homers, and 16 RBI in 202 plate appearances. Spina joined the Braves organization in July after being released by the Athletics, and the 25 year old first baseman hit .222 with a .707 OPS, 7 doubles, 1 homer, and 12 RBI in 95 plate appearances for Lynchburg.

Madrid was signed as a free agent out of Panama and spent 3 seasons in the organization. The 19 year old second baseman hit .216 with a .545 OPS, 4 doubles, and 8 RBI in 124 plate appearances in the GCL this season. The 24 year old Vargas played just 1 season in the system, as the Venezuelan third baseman hit .140 with a .446 OPS in 54 plate appearances in the GCL this year.

The Braves signed Daniel as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic and the 20 year old spent 3 seasons in the system, hitting .192 with a .460 OPS in 76 plate appearances in the GCL this season. Fleming was drafted out of high school in the 8th round in 2010. The 21 year old spent parts of 3 seasons with Danville, including 2012, when he also spent a part of the year with Rome, combining to hit .214 with a .578 OPS, 7 doubles, and 15 RBI in 132 plate appearances. His brother Kenny also spent 2 seasons in the Braves organization, and the two were teammates at Danville in 2010 and 2011.

Lost Free Agents

Catcher JC Boscan has signed with the Cubs. The soon-to-be 33 year old has spent 14 of his 16 professional seasons in the Braves organization, including going 5-19 in 11 games in the Majors between 2010 and 2012. The Braves likely still hope to have Boscan become a coach in the organization once his playing days are over, but after hitting under .200 for the last 2 seasons in AAA, they likely wanted more offense out of their third string catcher.

Right handed pitcher Erik Cordier and outfielder Felix Pie have signed with the Pirates. The 26 year old was acquired in exchange for Tony Pena Jr. prior to the 2008 season, and posted a 5.85 ERA and a 2.07 WHIP in just 32.1 innings over 17 appearances between Gwinnett, Mississippi, and the GCL this season. Pie joined Gwinnett in May after being signed away from and independent team. The 27 year old, who has over a thousand plate appearances in the Majors with the Cubs and Orioles, hit .285 with a .797 OPS, 26 doubles, 7 triples, 6 homers, 51 RBI, and 16 steals in 365 plate appearances with the G-Braves.

The Royals have signed both outfielder Luis Durango and first baseman Ian Gac. The 26 year old Durango led the International League with 46 steals this season, hitting .289 with a .687 OPS, 13 doubles, 5 triples, and 45 RBI in 565 plate appearances for Gwinnett. The 27 year old Gac hit .247 with a .782 OPS, 27 doubles, 7 homers, and 35 RBI in 292 plate appearances for Mississippi. Jason Christian has signed with the Twins. The 25 year old shortstop hit .219 with a .570 OPS in 181 plate appearances for Mississppi.

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