We are over six weeks into the MLB lockout, and from recent reports, it doesn’t look like we are anywhere close to a resolution. Spring training will likely be pushed back, and regular-season games are in jeopardy. It’s an embarrassment to the sport, but it’s the reality we are currently living in.
Because of this lockout, free agency has come to a screeching halt. The last major-league signing the Braves made was Kirby Yates, adding to their bullpen. But despite the lockout, minor-league transactions remain ongoing since they are not part of Major League Baseball. The Braves haven’t been among the most active teams in this regard, but let’s take a look at some of the additions they have added to their minor-league organization so far this offseason.
As I wrote about yesterday, the Braves re-signed one of their former top prospects, who they non-tendered in late November. I was surprised when I heard De La Cruz would be let go, but it appears this was simply a procedural move to open up a spot on the 40-man roster. I still think De La Cruz could go on to have a nice major-league career, so I’m pleased that he’s back with the organization.
O’Day is back with the Braves organization on a minor-league pact. He will compete for a spot on the Opening Day roster in spring training (if we ever have spring training). Providing he stays healthy, I think there’s a great chance he makes the team and becomes a significant contributor to the Braves.
Casteel is a career minor-leaguer that is 30-years-old. Assuming everything goes well, we will never see him in Atlanta. He appeared in 68 games in Gwinnett last season, hitting .224 with eight homers.
Gonzalez is another career minor-leaguer, but he put up some pretty impressive numbers in Detroit’s organization last season. In 92 games, most of which took place in AAA, he mashed 17 homers and recorded an .819 OPS. Gonzalez can also play all over the diamond, but again, if everything goes well, he will never see the field for the Braves.
Miller is a freshly turned 25-year-old who spent last season with the Mississippi Braves, but his numbers weren’t very inspiring. He barely hit over the Mendoza line, but he did flash some pop, smacking nine homers in 255 plate appearances.
Goins is a utility player that has spent part of the last eight seasons in the majors. His numbers at the plate are unsightly, but he does sport a 3.8 career WAR, so he could make an appearance in a pinch if absolutely necessary.
Cowan’s a 26-year-old infielder that’s yet to make it past the AA level. Last season, he recorded a .733 OPS in 83 games.