This final week of Spring Training always brings a lot of movement between players. By this stage, most teams have 30-35 players in MLB camp that believe they can and should play at the big league level. As you know, teams can only take 25 with them into Game 1 of the real season.
That last week involves a lot of players being released and opting out of contracts, making the pool of available talent that much richer. For example, the Braves released Nick Swisher and Alex Torres, while Carlos Torres elected to become a free agent. All other teams push through the same roster attrition, making the final few days before the regular season a perfect time for clubs to fill out the team with veterans capable of performing at a decent level, for the most part.
It looked like the Braves outfield picture was coming together, with Swisher gone and Jeff Francoeur being told he made the team. Logically, it set up a scenario for the final outfield spot to come down to Michael Bourn or Emilio Bonifacio, with Bourn the likely winner.
But Braves GM John Coppollela dipped into that talent pool, and pulled Drew Stubbs out. The speedy, defensively solid outfielder arrived to camp on Thursday to make things a little more interesting. He said he wants to be on a big league roster and that is why he left the Texas Rangers. So if Atlanta didn't think he had a pretty dang good shot of being on the Opening Day roster, chances are the club would not have signed him.
The Phillies picked up Will Venable in much the same manner earlier in the week, with limited time to impress the club. Sean Burnett is another player along those lines that did not make the cut for the Nationals and will be looking to find work elsewhere.
Granted, these types of signings are not earth shattering, and are not meant to be. But some of the best intrigue towards the end of Spring Training is deciding who will make the team.
The Braves bullpen is still in flux, and they may still have another move in the works. So tell us, who gets that final outfield in Atlanta? What does the Opening Day pen look like? Are there any other roster battles you're interested in seeing?
By the time you get done thinking about it, it will be Monday, and Braves baseball will be here! (Yes, this is so important that you should think about those questions for the next 50+ hours.)