Results tagged ‘ braves ’

Braves officially sign Toscano

The Braves have officially signed Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano to a four-year contract, the team announced on Wednesday. Toscano’s deal includes a club option for the 2019 season.

To make room for Toscano on the 40-man roster, the Braves designated outfielder Jose Constanza for assignment.

Toscano, 25, posted a .356/.440/.452 slash line in Cuba’s Serie Nacional during the 2012-13 season. A left-handed hitter, Toscano is expected to begin this season in the Minors, tweets MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.

“We are very excited to come to terms with a player of Dian’s ability,” Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said in a statement released by the team. “As we look to add depth to our organization, the international market is very important to us and expanding our search into Cuba is a significant step.”

Constanza has played parts of four seasons with the Braves, appearing in 12 games in 2014.

–Austin Laymance

Braves not interested in dealing Kimbrel

The Braves have reconstructed their roster this offseason through a number of trades and free-agent signings, but the club has no desire to deal closer Craig Kimbrel, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com.

Kimbrel, 26, is arguably the best closer in the game and could bring back a solid return, but it appears Atlanta has no interest at this point in making a move with the right-hander. He’s a four-time All-Star who has led the National League in saves in each of the last four seasons. Kimbrel is signed through the 2017 season and has a $13 million option for 2018.

This offseason, the Braves have already traded Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, and Evan Gattis. On this surface, it appears the Braves are rebuilding. But the organization’s public stance is that it can still compete this season and next.

“We love our core group,” Braves president of baseball operations John Hart told Bowman on Thursday morning. “We have added quality players around this group to allow us to compete while strengthening the farm system.  We’ve added (Nick) Markakis, (Jason) Grilli,  (Jim) Johnson, A.J. (Pierzynski) and others to help us compete this year.  We have never entertained trading (Kimbrel) and have had zero conversations with any clubs about Craig. I want him finishing out a World Series win.”

— Austin Laymance

Astros, Braves discussing deal for Gattis

The Astros are reportedly close to acquiring Braves catcher/outfielder Evan Gattis in exchange for a trio of prospects, according to multiple sources — though the deal is not finalized just yet. Mark Bowman of MLB.com adds that the Rangers are also still in the mix, if a deal is not completed with the Astros.

The potential return package from Houston would reportedly include right-handers Michael Foltynewicz and Andrew Thurman, as well as third baseman Rio Ruiz, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Foltynewicz is ranked as the Astros’ No. 4 overall prospect according to MLB.com, while Ruiz checks in as the club’s No. 9-ranked prospect.

If a deal is completed, it would mean the Braves have traded away their top two home run hitters from 2014 in Gattis and Justin Upton, who was traded to the Padres last month.

Gattis, who could serve as a catcher, outfielder or designated hitter in Houston, is currently under contract through the 2018 season. The 28-year-old posted a .263/.317/.493 batting line this past season, while hitting 22 home runs in just 108 games. He hit 21 homers over 105 games during his rookie season in 2013.

As for the Astros, they currently have Jason Castro penciled in as their starting catcher. Castro is coming off a disappointing 2014 campaign in which he hit just .222/.286/.366 with 14 home runs, though he did rack up a .276/.350/.485 line with 18 homers — all career-bests — in 2013.

— Paul Casella

Braves still talking to clubs about Gattis

With the start of Spring Training a little less than a month away, the Braves are still talking to a few clubs that had shown interest in Evan Gattis during the early portion of this offseason.  But as of early Wednesday afternoon, it did not appear that a deal was imminent.

If Gattis is traded, his most likely destination would be to the American League, where he could be utilized as both a designated hitter and catcher.  The Astros, Rangers and Royals have been among the clubs that have shown interest this winter.

While the Royals now appear to be out of the mix, the Astros and Rangers might still have some interest in the right-handed power hitter, who has already tallied a pair of 20-homer seasons, despite not playing more than 108 games during either of his first two seasons at the Major League level.

There was a point when the Braves were hoping to land a Major League-ready starting pitcher or outfielder in exchange for Gattis.  But it appears their most recent discussions have provided reason to believe they would be more likely to gain a crop of prospects if they deal the 28-year-old slugger, who will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season.

Gattis is currently slated transition from the catcher’s position to starting left fielder in Atlanta.  While this would create the potential to compile approximately 150 additional plate appearances over the course of the season, it also creates some concern about his limitations with the glove.  He was credited with -10 Defensive Runs Saved while logging just 342 1/3 innings (approximately one-third of a full season) in left field during the 2013 season.

— Mark Bowman

Moncada could start workouts within two weeks

Cuban shortstop Yoan Moncada is still awaiting clearance from the Office of Foreign Asset and Control (OFAC), but is widely expected to begin private workouts within the next two weeks according to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez.

The 19-year-old is one of the game’s top international prospects right now and is expected to garner significant interest once he’s officially available. Though his market will continue to develop as teams make more offseason moves, the clubs that were represented at Moncada’s “batting showcase” earlier this year were the Braves, Red Sox, Yankees, Giants, Rays, Padres and Cubs.

Given his age, position and switch-hitting ability, Moncada doesn’t figure to be short on offers as the process continues. There are no clear frontrunners at this point, but it’s certainly a situation worth monitoring in the coming weeks.

— Paul Casella

Royals sign Kris Medlen

The Royals and right-hander Kris Medlen agreed Thursday to a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2017.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Medlen, 29, spent 2014 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery after suffering an elbow injury in Spring Training with the Braves.

Medlen’s lone season as a starter came in 2013, when he blossomed into the one of the game’s best. He was 15-12 with a 3.11 ERA and finished the season going 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA and .197 average against in his final five starts.

He is 34-20 with a 2.95 ERA in 152 career (61 starts).

–Cash Kruth

Red Sox acquire Varvaro from Braves

The Braves traded right-handed reliever Anthony Varvaro to the Red Sox on Wednesday in exchange for Minor League right-hander Aaron Kurcz and cash considerations.

Varvaro, who compiled a 2.74 ERA in 123 appearances over the last two seasons, was somewhat surprisingly designated for assignment earlier this week to clear a spot for recently acquired infielder Alberto Callaspo. The hard-throwing righty also racked up 50 strikeouts over 54 2/3 innings this past season.

As for Kurcz, the 24-year-old tallied a 2.14 ERA in 34 appearances this past season for Double-A Portland, while striking out 54 batters over 42 innings.

Given that there was almost zero chance Varvaro was going to pass through waivers unclaimed after being designated earlier this week, it was only a matter of when, not if, the Braves were going to work out a trade inolving the 30-year-old reliever.

— Paul Casella

Ervin Santana signs with Twins

The Twins have agreed to terms with free-agent starting pitcher Ervin Santana on a four-year contract worth $54 million, a source confirmed to MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger.

The deal will pay Santana $13.5 million each year. It also includes an option for a fifth year that would vest depending on innings pitched, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Santana, 31, was 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA over 31 starts with the Braves in 2014. The right-hander has been dependable throughout his 10-year career and has made at least 30 starts in each of the last five seasons dating back to 2010.

Santana’s decision to turn down a qualifying offer appears to have paid off this time. He declined a $15.3 qualifying offer from the Braves in November. In 2013, he declined a qualifying offer from the Royals and eventually inked a one-year deal with Atlanta during Spring Training in March.

–Austin Laymance

Braves getting plenty of calls on J. Upton, Gattis

The Braves are continuing to receive calls from a number of teams regarding both outfielder Justin Upton and catcher/outfielder Evan Gattis, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

The report indicates that the Giants, Rangers, Royals and Padres are interested in both players, while the Mariners have been in contact solely about Upton.

Given the apparent market interest, coupled with the Braves’ willingness to move Upton, it seems inevitable that Upton will be moved somewhere this offseason. Though Atlanta already traded away outfielder Jason Heyward earlier this offseason, they were still interested in finding a new home for Upton even before signing fellow outfielder Nick Markakis last week.

The Padres have been closely linked to Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, but they could turn their focus toward Upton or Gattis if those talks fall through. The Rangers and Mariners, meanwhile, were interested in Kemp initially, but are reportedly no longer part of those discussions.

— Paul Casella

Drew garnering broad interest

Free agent shortstop Stephen Drew is drawing varying amounts of interest from at least 10 teams, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The list of teams that have tossed around the idea of signing Drew reportedly includes the Yankees, Mets, Astros, A’s, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Nationals and Marlins. The lack of shortstop depth on the free agent market this offseason has certainly played a part in the vast amount of interested teams.

Despite his struggles this past season, Drew is garnering significantly more interest this offseason than he did a year ago due to the fact that he is not tied to a compensatory draft pick this time around. He went unsigned last winter after rejecting a qualifying offer from the Red Sox before ultimately returning to Boston in late May.

— Paul Casella

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