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.