Braves sign Eric Stults

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Add another name to the list of fifth starter candidates for the Braves. According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Atlanta has signed left-hander Eric Stults to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Stults posted some decent numbers during his time with the Padres, with a 3.87 ERA across 79 starts and four relief appearances while showing good control. However, the 35-year-old had an 88 ERA+ in that timespan and only averaged 5.6 K/9. It’s hard to get too excited about that.

The Braves have a host of other candidates for the fifth starter job, including Manny Banuelos, Michael Foltynewicz, David Hale, Chien-Ming Wang, Wandy Rodriguez, and James Russell. For what it’s worth, Bowman now pegs Stults and Foltynewicz as the early front-runners, with Banuelos likely to get some more time in the minors.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.