Braves’ latest spring moves provide further clarity for bench
The Braves continued to pare down their roster with seven moves Thursday, one of which helped to make the bench picture just a little bit clearer.
Infielder Johan Camargo was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett along with pitchers Aaron Blair, Akeel Morris and Lucas Sims, while Max Fried was moved to Double-A Mississippi and A.J. Minter and Travis Demeritte were reassigned to minor league camp.
Camargo had been generating buzz as the Braves look to piece together their reserves, hitting .250/.368/.868 with a home run and five RBI in 32 at-bats.
With the belief that Atlanta could break camp with a four-man bench and eight relievers, that leaves one spot remaining with a group made up of infielder/outfielders Chase d’Arnaud, Jace Peterson and catcher Kurt Suzuki.
Considering infielder Micah Johnson is awaiting an MRI on his sprained wrist, the 23-year-old Panamanian Camargo’s case would have seemed to be bolstered but he committed six errors in 73 innings at shortstop.
Also, third baseman Rio Ruiz — a .235/.316/.353 — has impressed and veteran Emilio Bonifacio — .286/.355/.429 — provides another outfield option.
Then there’s the belief that the Braves could go outside the organization to add that final bench piece.
Outfielder Angel Pagan, who can provide insurance behind Ender Inciarte in center, remains a free agent after hitting .277/.331/.418 last season with the Giants. The 35-year-old recently said the Braves were among a trio of teams that had offered him minor-league contracts, which he rejected. According to FanRag’s Jon Heyman, a deal with the Orioles fell through due to a failed physical.
Whether the Braves are willing to meet Pagan or add another piece off another team’s waiver moves — like last year with Drew Stubbs — Camargo joining Triple-A at least removes one option for the final bench piece.
Atlanta now has 21 pitchers — six left-handers and 15 righties — along with six catchers, nine infielders and four outfielders remaining in camp.
Follow Cory McCartney on Twitter @coryjmccartney and Facebook. His books, ‘Tales from the Atlanta Braves Dugout: A Collection of the Greatest Braves Stories Ever Told,’ and ‘The Heisman Trophy: The Story of an American Icon and Its Winners.’ are now available.