DOB bringing the heat on a Wednesday. Not really, but he does re-open the discussion of how the Braves could align their rotation this season. While it may seem a foregone conclusion that Teheran, Foltynewicz, McCarthy, Gohara, and Newcomb will complete the staff, Max Fried and his arsenal of pitches could make things interesting in Spring Training.
Barring another trade or free-agent acquisition, the field of potential candidates for the fifth rotation spot could also include Lucas Sims, who made 10 starts as a rookie, and top prospects Mike Soroka and Kolby Allard, though neither has pitched above Double-A and both seem likely to get more seasoning in the upper minor leagues.
A.J. Minter received a late-season call-up in 2017, and after a solid showing now appears to be primed for meaningful innings in 2018. As Mark Bowman writes, Minter is among the few current Braves who could conceivably fill a late-inning role with Atlanta. Bowman breaks down the remainder of the candidates and where they are likely to slot in once the season begins.
With the start of Spring Training just a month away, the Braves have continued to look for ways to add experience to their relief corps, which currently features Vizcaino, Minter and Jose Ramirez as its best late-inning options. Sam Freeman and Dan Winkler would provide quality depth if they can extend last season’s success. But history has shown it’s unwise to bank on the consistency of unproven relievers.
Left-handed slugger Jay Bruce is returning to the NL East after a short stay in Cleveland. Bruce was traded by the Mets at the Trade Deadline last season, and will reunite with New York on a three-year deal.
This whole story was strange, since it was never really a story to begin with, according to sources that broke the original news. Cole was supposedly going to be a member of the Houston Astros, but the deal fell through. Reports indicated shortly after that no deal was ever close, and that some false information was being shared. We can only wait now to see if Houston actually does come through with a deal for Cole or if the right-hander is dealt at all.