Well, that’s a lot of roster moves all in one go:
To make room on the active roster Atlanta placed LHP Max Fried on the 10-day IL, backdated to September 6, with a left-side muscle spasm in his lumbar spine, and designated Charlie Culberson for assignment.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) September 8, 2020
The most meaningful change here, of course, is the temporary shelving of Max Fried. The lefty has been one of MLB’s best pitchers in this oddball, shortened season, as he’s fifth in MLB with 1.8 fWAR, a mark which leads his team. His absence will be a blow to a rotation that is already one of the worst in the majors, even with Fried taking a turn every five days, but on the plus side, it seems reasonably likely to be temporary.
Charlie Culberson, who tallied just nine PAs all season (plus a bizarre pitching appearance), has also been removed from the roster. With the DH in play, the Braves had little means of using Culberson, as he was fairly redundant with Adeiny Hechavarria and Johan Camargo. Culberson has compiled 1.2 fWAR over his last three seasons (473 PAs) with the Braves, with most of that coming in 2018, when he pulled off the amazing feat of simultaneously outperforming his xwOBA and doing so in the highest-leverage situations.
For these two suddenly-cleared roster spots, the Braves are adding Kyle Wright and Jacob Webb. Wright is tonight’s scheduled starter against the Marlins, and will hope for better (or at least different, though the two are fairly synonymous at this point) results in his return. Wright’s managed just a ghastly 158 ERA-, 145 FIP-, 140 xFIP- in four starts this year, and his career line across eight total starts and seven additional relief appearances is similar/worse. Wright’s only career okay start also came against the Marlins, in April of last year. He allowed two solo homers in six innings with a 4/1 K/BB ratio.
Jacob Webb’s return is a bit surprising, as he had been out of action with a shoulder strain and not necessarily expected to pitch for the big league club this year. Webb was part of a beleaguered and not particularly effective Atlanta bullpen last season, putting up a bizarre line of 31 ERA-, 98 FIP-, 116 xFIP-, albeit with a teeny-tiny .284 xwOBA/.315 xwOBACON due to his propensity (in 32 1⁄3 innings, mind) to get weak pop-ups and flies rather than anything else. If nothing else, Webb should at least be interesting to watch if and when he gets into a game to see if he can keep up this surreal tendency.