Braves cut Church to make room for Soriano

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Atlanta clearly wasn’t planning for Rafael Soriano to accept their arbitration offer, but now that he’s back in the fold–until they can find a trade partner, at least–the Braves cleared room for him on the 40-man roster by designating outfielder Ryan Church for assignment.
Church was acquired from the Mets in July for Jeff Francoeur and would have been in line for a raise on his 2009 salary of $2.8 million via arbitration, so in addition to clearing roster room for Soriano the move also saves the Braves a good chunk of change. Church struggles against lefties and is coming off the worst season of his career, but should have little trouble finding work on the open market.
He remains a solid platoon starter who’s hit .287/.357/.460 against righties over the past three seasons and plays good defense in either outfield corner. Cutting him loose seemingly increases the Braves’ odds of handing 20-year-old uber prospect Jason Heyward a starting job coming out of spring training, although there’s still plenty of time for Atlanta to pursue a short-term stop gap in right field.

Chris Woodward interviewed for the Yankees’ managerial position

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The Yankees interviewed Aaron Boone for their managerial vacancy on Friday, and today it was Chris Woodward’s turn. That makes at least five interviews since the offseason began, and Woodward’s likely won’t be the last.

Like fellow candidate Eric Wedge, whom the Yankees interviewed just last week, Woodward has never played or coached for the club. He spent the majority of his 12-year career with the Blue Jays and picked up brief stints with the Mets, Braves, Mariners and Red Sox before returning to Toronto for his final season in 2011. Following retirement, he served as the Mariners’ minor league infield coordinator and infield and first base coach from 2012-2015. During the 2015 offseason, he jumped over to the National League to work with the Dodgers as a third base coach, and saw his first postseason run since the Mets lost to the Dodgers in the 2006 NLDS.

While Woodward has yet to manage at the major league level, he was named manager of the New Zealand national team during the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifiers. It’s certainly conceivable that the Yankees would prefer a candidate with significant experience leading a major league team, but right now the only person who fits that bill is Eric Wedge — and, well, it’s Eric Wedge.