The Braves shook up their roster a bit today by designating utilityman Emilio Bonafacio for assignment and optioning infielder Jace Peterson and right hander Matt Wisler to Triple-A. To fill their spots on the 25-man they called up infielder Johan Camargo and activated lefty Eric O’Flaherty and third baseman Adonis Garcia from the DL.
The Garcia/O’Flaherty moves were expected. The Bonifacio DFA was somewhat surprising given that the Braves have put up with low production from him for some time. Indeed, he seemed like one of those guys teams just keep around despite their offensive futility due to their defensive flexibility. Thing is, defensive versatility is not the same as defensive proficiency and no teams are likely to put up with the .171/.210/.211 line Bonifacio has sported for the Braves over the last two seasons.
As for Garcia: his being called up while his replacement at third, Rio Ruiz, remains with the team is somewhat interesting. Ruiz is not a good defender but he’s younger than Garcia and it would seem that the Braves just want to get a longer look at him in the bigs. The lefty Ruiz and righty Garcia will likely split time in a platoon going forward.
Free agent third baseman Trevor Plouffe has reportedly been drawing interest around the league, says Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Braves and Royals are rumored to have shown interest alongside the Red Sox and Athletics, though no contract talks have emerged as of yet.
Plouffe, 30, was outrighted by the Twins in November after rounding out a seven-year run with the club. He slashed .260/.303/.420 with 12 home runs over 344 PA in 2016, but logged just 84 appearances after missing several months with an intercostal strain, cracked rib and left oblique strain.
Plouffe got lost amid the reshuffling of the infield and outfield when the Twins tried to accommodate Michael Sano last season, but a clean bill of health and a steady gig could see him return to his career-average .727 OPS and 22-homer rate in 2017. While the Red Sox are not thought to have room on their roster or enough space on their payroll for another significant commitment (though previous reports from the Boston Herald mention a potential one-year, $2-3 million deal for the third baseman), Cafardo notes that the Royals could be a good fit for the infielder if they consider trading Mike Moustakas. Like the Royals and Red Sox, the Braves appear to have the hot corner set for 2017, but could sign Plouffe to a short-term contract to complement Adonis Garcia and Rio Ruiz if necessary.