The Braves would be a sweet spot for Billy Wagner

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And I’m not just saying that because I’m a Braves fan.’s Braves expert Mark Bowman thinks so too, reporting that Wagner’s agent has been in contact with Atlanta and making the excellent point that, though signing Wagner may very well cost a team a first round pick, the Braves are unique in that their need at closer will be occasioned by losing two relievers — Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez — each of whom will bring a similar compensation pick in return.

More generally, Wagner is the kind of guy Bobby Cox and the Braves brass loves: older and lower maintenance. He’s coming off of surgery sure, but at a point in his career where there isn’t a huge need for Cox to baby him.  He makes more sense in Atlanta than just about anyplace else.

Bowman cites Fernando Rodney as a fallback option, but after the John Rocker and Mark Wholers eras, I’m pretty sure that Bobby Cox swore off of wild things with great gas.  It’s a health thing. Both mental health and cardiovascular health.  Bobby’s old now and doesn’t need any more 20-pitch ninth innings than are absolutely necessary.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

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Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.

The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.

That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.