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Atlanta Braves Winter Meeting Rumors

All the Atlanta Braves rumors from the Winter Meetings wrapped up in one place.

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9 Total Updates since December 3, 2012
  • Updates 7
  • Articles 2
  • All Updates 9

Braves Sign Utility Infielder Blake DeWitt

The Atlanta Braves have added more depth to their system by signing utility infielder Blake DeWitt to a minor league deal. DeWitt is a former first round pick by the Dodgers, who went to the Cubs as part of the Ted Lilly trade in 2010. He's primarily played second base and third base, but has also played some left field.

He will likely compete for a backup infield spot in spring training. His power never developed at higher levels in the minor leagues, and at 27 he's pretty much just going to be a light hitting utility guy.

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Reed Johnson Re-Signs With Braves

The Braves wrap up Johnson for two years.

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Braves Have Interest In Nate Schierholtz

From a tweet by AJC writer David O'Brien, the Atlanta Braves apparently have interest in free agent outfielder Nate Schierholtz. He played for the Phillies and Giants last season as a right fielder, center fielder, and pinch hitter. Schierholtz would pair with Reed Johnson (should he re-sign) to form a potent lefty-righty pinch-hit tandem. Schierholtz has a career .305 pinch-hit average though he's hit lefties and righties about the same.

UPDATE 9:30pm:

Schierholtz has apparently agreed to a one year deal with the Cubs. So scratch him off the list.

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Braves Checking On Dodgers Dee Gordon

Jon Paul Morosi reported on MLB Network that the Atlanta Braves have checked with the Dodgers on the availability of infielder Dee Gordon ... to fill their left field vacancy. Gordon has only played shortstop in the Majors, but with Hanley Ramirez occupying short next year in LA, he might be available.

The Braves would likely be looking for Gordon to be a super-utility player in the same way that they were looking at Emilio Bonifacio (a rumor reported late last night) -- someone who can backup shortstop and play all over the infield and outfield (remember Omar Infante). This continues the Braves trend of trying to get younger and faster throughout the lineup.

This is probably just a rumor that results from a conversation or two, and the Braves may have moved on, but it's still worth pointing out. Especially since, when combined with the Bonifacio rumor, it tells us the general direction that the Braves are looking in to fill left field -- a speedy multi-position-type player.

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Another Quiet Day At The Meetings

What is this, a "normal" week? No, it's the Winter Meetings when things are supposed to happen. Players are supposed to sign and trades are supposed to go down... and rumors of trades are supposed to be everywhere. But as far as the Atlanta Braves are concerned, so far not much has happened.

The only rumor that seems to be out there is one that David O'Brien tweeted about regarding Emilio Bonifacio:

Braves interested in Bonifacio before got traded by MIA (Fredi G. had him w/Marlins), didn't know til this wk he might still be available

Bonifacio has always been a thorn in the Braves side, so it may seem to some Braves fans like he's better than he really is. One benefit of Bonifacio is that he can play multiple positions, much like Omar Infante, Bonifacio can play every outfield position and second, third, and short. I like that super utility value that he could provide. He's also fast on the basepaths and could lead off, though he's not an ideal leadoff hitter.

While the super utility value would be a plus for Bonifacio, I wouldn't necessarily want him holding down an everyday role in left field. But with other internal options developing for left, it would probably be worth giving him the left field job and keeping him in an everyday role in case he were needed to fill in at second, short, third, or center in the event of an injury. If someone like Evan Gattis proved ready for left field, then Bonifacio could slide into more of a bench role. Bonifacio assuming a super-utility role could also allow Juan Francisco to get more playing time at third, with Martin Prado moving to left.

Bonifacio certainly seems like the kind of player that the Braves like to have on their team. We'll see if it happens.

The Braves also signed a backup catcher according to Mark Bowman:

The Braves have signed catcher Matt Pagnozzi to a Minor Lg. contract. Pagnozzi will likely serve as ATL's backup until McCann returns

Backups!

Rule 5 draft is today tomorrow at 10am, and the Braves only have 36 players on their 40 man roster, so there's room to add. They added reliever Robert Fish last year, but he never pitched for them, spending the whole year on the disabled list.

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A Quiet Day One For Braves At Winter Meetings

Not much going on from day one at the Winter Meetings as far as Atlanta Braves fans are concerned, though it's still worth pointing out a few quotes or points. These are from DOB's AJC article, the first is in regards to Andrelton Simmons:

"I don’t think anybody is untouchable, but I think he would be…" Wren said, pausing for the right adjective, "unreachable. Because he plays one of those skill positions in the middle of the diamond much better than your average bear. He’s a special player.

"The other thing is, we’ve seen him grow so much in the last two years, from the time we drafted him to rushing through the minor leagues and winning a batting title at the A-ball level. He just continues to get better and better. We may be just scratching the surface of how good he can be."

That honestly sounds like how the Braves talked about Yunel Escobar five years ago. I'm not saying Yuney and Simba are the same player, but the Braves certainly do fall in love with their guys up the middle. Of course, I would consider him untouchable and/or unreachable as well, and keep in mind that I was high on Simmons before just about anyone else was.

Wren mentioned that they were trying to re-sign Reed Johnson to be their primary pinch hitter, and he said this about the continuing search for a left fielder:

As for a starting left fielder, Wren was asked if he’d be comfortable going to spring training without acquiring another impact performer.

"Yeah," he said. "Would I be satisfied? No. But I think I would be fairly comfortable. Because I think we’re in a position where we’re starting to have some options internally that are at least interesting for us, and would be fun to watch in spring training, see how they develop. So if we did nothing in that regard … I think there’s some interesting things that could develop from our own organization."

I've mentioned that a platoon of Juan Francisco and Evan Gattis would be fun to watch, with Martin Prado shifting back and forth between left field and third base. If the last spot in the lineup is the eighth spot, then why not take a shot and develop some (more) young sluggers.

And in the no-one-is-untouchable category:

While the Braves aren’t interested in trading young starting pitchers Kris Medlen or Mike Minor, prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado could be available.

"But] if we’re going to trade one of those guys it’s going to be a significant deal," Wren said. "And I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not."

Sounds about right. Though that means the Braves would probably want to get some rotation insurance.

We'll see if anything drops today at the meetings. Sounds like the groundwork for deals is being laid, but no one is getting close to finalizing anything. Maybe trades will start happening once more free agents are off the board.

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Diamondbacks Aggressive On Trade Front... Upton?

Justin Upton. Justin Upton. Justin Upton.

It's all anyone can say since the Braves signed his brother B.J. last week. Here is a tweet this morning from Buster Olney:

The Diamondbacks are said to be one of the most aggressive teams here so far... Execs with other teams have thought they will trade J.Upton.

If J-Up is available, then one would think the Braves are all over it. Of course, unless the D-Backs have moved off their offer of Simmons in return, then it might be a non-starter. Still, it's heating up...

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Could Ichiro Be An Option For Atlanta

In their search to fill their left field vacancy, the Braves could look to veteran outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. Here is David O'Brien on the possibility:

Besides Pagan and Victorino, there is another high-profile free agent with plenty of leadoff experience: Ichiro Suzuki. The former Seattle Mariners icon turned 39 in October and is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he posted career-worst OBPs of .310 and .307, but Suzuki did seem rejuvenated after a July trade to the Yankees. He hit .322 with a .340 OBP and 17 stolen bases in 67 games for New York, and will probably end up signing for a relatively low salary and a deal of one or perhaps two years.

He's older, but still has speed, and if he can get his on-base ability back he could be a valuable lead-off man. I also like the idea of adding a veteran like Ichiro to what is a very young Braves lineup. As far as Ichiro is concerned, here is his agent on the status of talks with the Yankees:

"At the beginning we talked a lot but since that time, zero,’’ agent Tony Attanasio said of discussions with the Yankees. "As far as we are concerned we don’t care what the Yankees do. We have had conversations with multiple clubs. If we see something we like he will go through with it.’

One would think Ichiro, at 39, would fit into the Braves budget, and still leave them with money left in the kitty. It would be neat to add a future Hall of Famer like Ichiro to the team, and possibly have him finish his career in Atlanta.

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What Will Braves Do At Winter Meetings

Do the Braves have any trades brewing or free agents left to sign?

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