The Braves inked utilityman Chris Woodward to a one year, $850k deal today. Woodward isn’t a spectacular hitter, but he can play anywhere and he should give Bobby Cox some flexibility when it comes to the late innings. He had a solid season in 2005 in which he hit .283 but last year he hit only .216.
I see Woodward used as a late inning defensive replacement after the Braves best pinch hitter is used. Not a bad guy to have in the National League where a pinch hitter or two usually get into a game.
The latest rumor has the whole Adam LaRoche for Mike Gonzalez deal that fell through a couple of weeks with a new twist. The latest has the Yankees giving the Braves infielder Melky Cabrera while the Braves would then give the Pirates Adam LaRoche. The Yankees would then get Mike Gonzalez.
I guess I don’t see why the Braves are so hell bent on giving up on Adam LaRoche. He had a great season last year and he’ll be coming up on his all important, potentially peak season as he turns 28 next November. I guess getting Cabrera is a little bit better then a relief pitcher. I like the other deal that had rumored better, in which Brian Roberts would replace Marcus Giles at second base. He’d be moved for LaRoche.
No big surprise here. The Braves have been trying to shop Marcus Giles for a while now and rather then take their chances at arbitration, they’re going to let Giles test the market. It’s expected that the Padres will be his first choice, where he’ll join up with his brother, Brian Giles.
The Braves also opted not to tender Chris Reitsma. The relief pitcher missed most of last season because of an elbow injury and he was slated to be the teams closer before he went down.
The Braves shored up their bullpen at the expense of their rotation when they traded Horatio Ramirez for Rafael Soriano. Ramirez was solid in fourteen starts this year but it seems like every other year he’s on the shelf. Those walks were also a concern. He had 200 career walks vs. 248 strikeouts in 521 1/3 innings.
Rafael Soriano is a stud when he’s throwing. He’s also been on the shelf quite a bit the past few years but when he’s on, he’s a strikeout machine. Soriano was on the shelf for most of 2004 and 2005 but he came back in 2006 with a solid season. Soriano has a fantastic strikeout to walk ratio (177/53 in 171 innings) and he could very well close to the Braves in 2007.
The Braves made an addition to their bullpen over the weekend. Former Yankee Tanyon Sturtze signed with the Braves for one year at $750k. If he makes the big league club, that deal will increase to $1.1 million.
Sturtze was a servicable middle reliever/spot starter although last year he missed most of the season after shoulder surgery. He has a career ERA of 5.21 and a career WHIP of 1.53 in 794 2/3 innings.
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