Braves release Melky Cabrera

When I arrived at AT&T Park for Monday afternoon’s National League Championship Series workout, it seriously felt like it had been two months since Rick Ankiel drilled that 11th-inning pitch into the water and gave the Braves what proved to be their last win of the year. 

It was hard to believe that it had been 10 days since Ankiel delivered that blast and it’s even harder to believe that it’s been a week since awaking with the harsh reality that Bobby Cox’s days as the Braves manager were complete. 

But with memories of the 2010 season still fresh, Braves general manager Frank Wren and many of his top lieutenants are currently in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. planning for the 2011 season. 

While beginning to reconstruct the 40-man roster, they have already released Melky Cabrera, Takashi Saito and J.C. Boscan.  None of these moves were viewed as a surprise.  But I am checking to see why they needed to release Saito, who had signed just a one-year deal.

Cabrera hit .255 with four homers and a .671 OPS in 147 games with the Braves this year.  While taking some bad routes and sometimes looking lackadaisical in the field, he proved to also be a defensive disappointment.  

The 26-year-old outfielder had one arbitration-eligible season left and stood as a prime candidate to be non-tendered.   He hit .274 with 13 homers and a .752 OPS while playing 154 games for the 2009 World Series champion Yankees.

Saito posted a 2.83 ERA in 56 appearances and when healthy, proved to be the reliable setup man the Braves envisioned this year.  But a troublesome shoulder limited the 40-year-old reliever’s workload after the All-Star break and sidelined him for the final two weeks of the regular season.

When the Braves were eliminated from the National League Division Series last week, Saito said he was unsure about whether he would continue to pitch. 

The Braves produced a feel-good story when they brought Boscan to the Majors when the rosters expanded in September.   The 30-year-old catcher has hit .227 with a .629 OPS in 14 Minor League seasons, 12 of which have been spent in the Braves organization.  

Boscan has long appeared to be destined to find some kind of coaching or instructing role within the Braves organization.  If he chooses to continue playing, there’s still a chance the Braves could offer him a chance to play again at Triple-A Gwinnett.

Heading to the stadium now for Game 3 of the NLCS.  I’ll provide updates once I get a chance to talk to Wren.  

33 Comments

Well I guess there is no use in crying over spilled Melk. I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it ;0

That’s OK Bill is was sour.

I just thought I’d repost this (in response to an nc comment):
Strangely, though, as I noticed viva agreed with as well… resigning Derrek Lee and putting Freeman in LF might solve a few problems if he was able to adjust and not look like Melky Cabrera out there. It would give us a RH hitting power guy in the middle of the lineup, would allow us to resign Eric Hinske as the backup 1B/3B/LF (as having 2 LH hitting 1B seems kinda unneccesary), and would solve our LF power/average/everything numbers (or lack thereof).
As I just noticed that the .287/.384/.465 that Derrek Lee put up with the Braves would have ranked 3rd/2nd/1st (respectively) on this team with players with at least 200 ABs.
Just saying… I can see the logic in this.

Sorry about that Bill as it should have read “it was sour”.

From what I have read Freeman was mostly a third baseman until he became a pro. Maybe he can make the adjustment at his young age but then again Chipper said that playing left field was the start of his leg problems. If you can move Freeman to left field then why not put Mac at first and give the catching job to Ross

Well, from what I can gather (from doing it myself and what I’ve seen from major leaguers), the move from 1B to LF isnt too terribly hard… its about the easiest transition you can make. You dont have to be terribly good at it to be an upgrade for the Braves. Also, you have to take into account that Chipper was, more than likely, in his post-steriodal days, or at least near the end, when he made that transition. Im thinking Freeman may not be a steroid user.

And I know its probably taboo to think that he may have used steroids, but seriously… I look at the numbers, I look at the length he put up the numbers, then I look at the body completely breaking down in his early 30s. Your body shouldnt break down in your early 30s unless you’re a RB playing football and you get the Hell beat out of you for a living. MMA fighters even last longer than that.

And I may be completely off-base by saying its possible, and if I am, I am sorry. I’m just saying you can probably take that into account.

Chipper was injury-prone early. Steroids prevent injury better, as well as help you recover quicker. This alone suggests he was clean. There’s no other real sign that I can think of that would suggest otherwise. Andruw, on the other hand…

Chipper never missed more than 9 games in a season until 2004, and never more than 6 games in a season besides that one. I wouldnt call that “injury prone”. He just had the blown out knee in ’94, which could happen to anyone.

Chipper had mostly oblique and wrist issues from what I remember (could be wrong, but just me recollection). Not exactly an injury attributed to steroid usage. If you ask me, Chippers numbers are from his sweet swing and lack of TP as a hitting coach. Sheffield is a Brave that was definitely on the juice, there’s your difference. Justice was another that gained a lot of mass in his days (but his seemed to be gradual). I think Gant was probably natural since he was a gym rat. Obviously, the one year we had Caminiti…Javy was also a question mark for me.
Honestly, it stinks, but anyone from that era will always have a question mark by his name. That’s what is so disappointing about the entire situation.

Thank you Saito for the great season. Sad to see that your season essentially ended due to injury.
It was a great signing by Wren, and I think it’s the right move to let him go. I’m sure someone will take a chance on his arm after his season with the Braves (if his shoulder is healthy).

I literally almost yelled in class today when I got the text. I’m the least religious man on the planet, but thank you dear infant baby Jesus Christ.

Also: Looks like the Braves could win the 2010 American League pennant, guys.

I was joking about putting Freeman in LF. He has never played it professionally and I don’t see that happening. Just saying it’s unfortunate cause it would be great to have Lee for another year. Freeman at 1B probably means that we wont keep Hinske, though I hope that’s not the case.
Also, I really don’t think Chipper was on roids. Maybe sitting on rhoids while injured, but not on roids. Come on, the guy won the batting title 2 years ago, was a number 1 pick and was always considered to be one of the greats in the game. His injuries started coming about when they moved him to LF. Chipper Jones was never on steroids.

Well, I wasnt saying it was going to happen. I didn’t/don’t think it would. But, just throwing this out there… Chipper had never even played 3B OR LF professionally until he played them at the ML level. So its not out of the realm of possibility, just the realm of probability.
It would easily be the most cost-efficient move. Lee doesn’t command a huge salary at his age, Hinske is cheap, and Freeman might as well be free. So you get your everyday LF, 1B, and insurance policy for both for what… $8-9m at the most?

Why not resign both Lee and Hinske put Lee at First and Hinkse at third. Make Chipper out hitting coach place Freeman in lf make a trade for a cf like Andres Torres Kemp Upton and thats Justin not BJ or why not Victorino. And use both JJ Beachy and KK as trade bait. JJ can be use to get use some offense and getting a big bat. I still wanna see Frank Wren go after Fielder but im just wishful thinking but i think i can be pulled off. Send JJ Freeman Matt Young and Matt Diaz to the Brewers for Fielder Chris Dickerson and Dave Bush thats what i wouild love to see happen but it aint bc the Braves wont do it.

As hard as right handed power bats are to find, I hope there is an effort made to get DLee back. If healthy, he is the kind of guy in the middle that we need, and the kind of guy in the clubhouse we beg for.

Freeman looks like he is going to be pretty good, but realistically he will not put up anything like the numbers a healthy DLee provides in 2011. Put Freeman on the team for sure, but make him earn his every day stripes.

If BMac is the best hitter in the lineup, which he probably is, then the Braves need to find a way to save his legs while keeping his bat in the lineup. A move to 1B for him would probably dramatically improve his offensive numbers, and frankly, he is an average at best catcher defensively. Ross is a really good player that is being wasted. He has as much or more power than anyone on the team, and one of the best arms in the league. Ross, BMac and DLee make an interesting rotation for 1B and C, but I doubt it will happen.

It will be interesting to see who is brought in, and how much positional flexibility they are going to set themselves up for.

Also, from the “Sell high” department, what do you see happening with Omar Infante? His name is going to be mentioned in a lot of the trades that are proposed to and by the Braves.

As far as Chipper goes, even if he makes it back to 100% of where he was before the knee injury, Is another year of .265 with average to below average power numbers gonna cut it? Truthfully, Hinske was more productive than Chipper in 2010. The Hall of Fame .300/.400/.500 guy is no longer on the Braves roster, we all know that, right? Chipper circa 2009-2010 is not that guy. He also hand picked the pitchers he faced and slapped everything to the opposite field for the last two months of 2008 if we’re being honest in our assessment. I think he was one of the best the Braves have ever had, but his value in the dugout is quickly eclipsing his value at the hot corner and in the batter’s box.

I hear that Lance Berkman maybe looking for work if the Yankees dont resign him and hes looking at being an everyday player why not sign him for cheap and let him play 1st and use Freeman as a Leftfielder. I mean the Braves should be thinking outside the box for once and go out there comfort zone to get a powerhitter ok.

NC there are a couple of things you forget with your trades. Would the GM for the other team want our trash? Would you really want KK at $6mill? How are you going to find enough quality players to fill the other holes you create with the trade both now and in the future? I think Chipper will make a decision a lot quicker this year than last about retiring if he cannot produce at his HOF stats. They really cannot move Infante for if Chipper can’t come back then you have to put Prado at third and Infante at second. I totally agree with BMac at first and Ross at catcher. The difference between a veteran and rookie is one plays with a torn thumb ligament and the other puts a bruised thumb in a cast.

Just catching up on the blog – first time back since we went down in flames.

Bill, I saw where you accused me of getting my original ideas from DOB (Dave O’Brian)?

If you have some evidence of that I would love to see it. I don’t read him. (Sorry Dave, I am sure you are great but I don’t read the Atlanta Urinal and Constipation or anything affiliated with it.)

Hey maybe Dave gets his stuff from me when he reads this blog? Just a thought.

What’s more satisfying than watching the Yankees lose? …watching the Phillies lose.

Alls quite on the Phillie troll front… guess they’re upset, you know, being down 3-1 to the team who barley beat us. And by barely, I mean 1 run games all decided by a magic stolen base, magic check swings, and Infante apparently being pulled from the bag.

Anyone think in our search for a 4th OF we’ll turn to Ankiel? Can’t be worse than Melky – about the same average and OBP, more power, way better range, and a helluva arm. Wouldn’t cost too much. Not saying he’s the best option, but he could be candidate at about $1.5m. Let him get around Chipper some more, I bet we can cut those strikeouts down.

I mean JJ and Infate can be traded but the thing is getting something in return which the Frank Wren isnt known for. I mean he has blown some bad trades both Texieria deals. I mean its funny that the guy that was traded to get Tex struck him out in a playoff game. that trade should have never happen. The Laroche for Mike Gonalez should have never been made. If the braves would have kept both Salty and LaRoche our everyday Leftfielder would have been Salty and look how well the Braves could have been. the Francouer trade should have been handle a lil easier like not trading him to NY but maybe to KC or Cin maybe could have package Frnechy Laroche and Perez and maybe could have gotten Hamilton from the Reds. Or maybe the Braves can package a deal to get him now Like sending JJ Beachy Infante and Freeman to texas for Hamilton but i dont see that working or happening but a man can wish right?

DO YOU EVER PAY ATTENTION TO ANYTHING? You have to be 9 years old.
You mention JJ and Infante and then how bad Wren is at the trading game. Well.. he traded for both of those guys and gave up Renteria, and Jose Ascanio. We also got Gorkys Hernandez and Will Ohman in those deals. We got the best year of Javy Vazquez’ career for Lillibridge and Flowers, neither of whom have their ML BA over .200. Oh, and then we dealt Vazquez before the worst year of his career for the #69 prospect in baseball, Melky, and a Dunn who can be an important part of our bullpen. I think the Gonzalez / Escobar trade was a good one. A full season will tell, but no one wanted Escy around and Gonzo is a great affordable option at SS considering his defense and power potential.
So yeah, guess Wren has no clue what he was doing. Tex to the Braves was also a John Scheurholtz trade. NC, you really need to get on adderall or something and pay attention every now and then.

I’m not gonna defend NC because I frankly don’t read any of that garbled mush. But Viva, respectfully, the WHW has had two tasks in the last 2 years, rebuild the starting lineup and sign a power right handed bat for the middle of our anemic lineup. The lack of that bat cost us the NL East, probably both of the last 2 years, but certainly this year. And it’s why we lost in the playoffs(insert Buster Posey here). Frank signs or trades for a bunch of middle aged position scrubs each year who collectively don’t drive in runs. He keeps saying our strength is pitching, but you can’t win if you don’t score. I think he thinks he is gonna wind up in Schuerholtz’s and Bobby’s enviable position of having 3 future HOFer’s to run out there. IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN FRANK!!!!!!!! We have to have some offense. So his whitehairedness get’s a test score of 50%. I wouldn’t take that report card home to my Mama, would you?

Just a thought, how about putting the skids under Nate the skate. He has done nothing but take up roster space since he has been there. They should just think”Is he really worth it?”

When is general management gonna learn about picking up these long shot players that other clubs have used up and pay some good players to come to Atlanta.If you have a shot of playoff hopes…PAY SOMEBODY!The southeast love their Braves so there should’nt be any problem for revenue earned from ticket and food and drinks.Just look at what Stienbrenner built in N.Y.Every year their right there in the thick of things.Lets get back to our 1990’s form.Buy some players dummies!

So long Melky,”wish it was bye Moylan to.Trade Derek Lee,try to get Andrew Jones back,and spend some doe.It’s not rocket sience.

Dave, your first point is dead on, you can’t keep acquiring cheap retreads and assume they will recapture their former glory. At some point you have to find a way to shake some money loose and sign an everyday player. Your second post sounds horrible. As it stands, Moylan is the only veteran in the pen, Derek Lee is a free agent and can be had by anyone, and A Jones has been terrible for years. We already have a .200 hitting outfielder, his name is McLouth.

Why is anyone talking about trading JJ? You throw JJ in our rotation down the stretch we are looking at a different team. Hanson hit a rough stretch when we needed him most. Don’t touch our pitching unless you are bringing something good back, and why would we trade three people including JJ and Infante for one bat? JJ is a future Cy Young candidate if not winner and Infante is the guy you have on the bench that can go out at any time and play 7 positions (minus P and C). You can’t replace guys like that, he is solid anywhere on the field. If you are going to trade someone trade some prospects and get a big bat, I’m sure someone would like to see Beachy’s name in a trade. But let’s remember this is Wren we are talking about so take Beachy, JJ, Hanson, and J-Hey and we will get Werth from Philly I’m sure.

The reason Jurrjens is mentioned if because you have to give something to get something. You stated that Hanson hit a rough stretch, well Jurrjens has been inconsistent to say the least when he has been healthy the past year and a half. Most teams are not going to part with a big bat for only prospects (unless you give them 5 future starters ala Texiera). Plus, our prospects are not what they once were (thanks to Tex trade), we have an abundance of pitching with little to no IF or power bat prospects. I would think a deal involving Jurrjens, Beachy, and Marek would probably draw some interest for a pitching depleted team.

I see your point but I have a hard time moving Jurrjens when I don’t think we’ve seen him reach his potential, plus we have him for a couple more years before his big payday don’t we?

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