The Atlanta Braves Continue to Make Big Moves

by Wayne Cavadi | Posted on Saturday, April 4th, 2015
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The Atlanta Braves had a busier week than most heading into the last weekend of Spring Training. The entire Braves’ team seems like a position battle as they continue to wheel and deal as they rebuild their franchise.

The big news of the week is that they added one-time All Star Trevor Cahill to their rotation. The move is a bit peculiar. No, it’s not because the 27-year old righty has declined every year since his 2010 All Star season, bottoming out at 3-12 with a 5.61 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP eventually losing his spot in the rotation for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season. It’s a peculiar move because the Braves’, despite getting half of Cahill’s salary in the deal, are still adding close to $7-million in salary to a team in rebuild mode. Add to it that Cahill is such a question mark, and you are left wondering if this was the right move. Still, he was acquired for very little, and the Braves are clearly banking that they get the Cahill of the Oakland As and not the Diamondbacks.

The addition of Cahill led to a surprising move by the Braves’ brass.

Just two weeks ago, Braves’ skipper Fredi Gonzalez told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that it wasn’t “make or break” for Rodriguez and he had won a rotation spot. Rodriguez started the spring untouchable allowing one run over his first four starts. He allowed 7 runs to score over 10 innings in his last two starts, however. So much for not a case of make or break.

Trevor Cahill won the fourth slot in the rotation and veteran Eric Stults will man the five slot. Stults had a phenomenal spring going 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. He’s not going to strike out a ton (7 over his 19 spring innings) but he should eat up innings as a fifth starter should. He or Cahill will most likely move to the bullpen once the injured Mike Minor returns.

The Braves’ also cut ties with Todd Coffey, who was brought in earlier this spring on a minor league deal, but never got it going this spring finishing with a 7.71 ERA. The Braves also let Jose Constanza go. Constanza was once a top prospect in the Braves’ system, but now at 31 years of age and never really making an impact, it’s a wonder who will give him a chance. Chien-Ming Wang was also reassigned to the minors, which didn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

The last big question remaining for the Braves is what to do with Michael Foltynewicz. Rumors are aswirl that the 23-year old flame throwing righty acquired in the Evan Gattis trade (and already the No. 2 prospect in the Braves system) may win the long relief role in the bullpen. If the Braves’ truly want Foltynewicz to one day anchor their rotation, he may be better off starting in Gwinnett and seeing regular work. More on this will be found out in the coming days.

The Braves also found out some bad news about one of their top prospects.

Arodys Vizcaino was suspended for 80 games when he failed a drug test for the drug Stanozolol. This is a PED that is used amongst veterinarians to help with bone growth. Vizcaino is the second pitcher to be suspended for the drug in the last week. Despite being reassigned to the minor leagues, Vizcaino is on the Braves’ 40-man roster, and will suffer Major League baseball’s punishment. He will be back halfway through the season.

It was an interesting offseason for the Atlanta Braves. One thing is for certain. New GM John Hart is keeping it exciting right down to the final minute.

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Wayne Cavadi
About the Author

Wayne is baseball junkie who currently serves as the editor for the MiLB site Grading on the Curve, a featured columnist for Yanks Go Yard, and runs his own highly-opinionated, general sports blog Wayniac Nation. Wayne is a die hard Yankees fan living in a house divided - he is engaged to a lovely lady of Red Sox Nation.

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