Braves' Pena returns from DL, Wilson granted release

I don’t consider this blog to be a source of Braves news, per se, so I don’t typically comment on individual transactions.  I prefer to leave that to blogs like Braves Journal, Chop-N-Change, and Talking Chop, which cover the Braves on a more comprehensive basis than I do.  Some transactions are too hard to pass up, though.

Today, the Braves recalled C Brayan Pena from the DL, which is hardly surprising, since he was eligible to come off today.  The surprising part is that they released 1B Craig Wilson rather than demoting Jarrod Saltalamacchia.  Two weeks ago, I looked at the trade options (admittedly longshots) the Braves might have for their top catching prospect, who has been blocked by newly-minted-star Brian McCann.  Now, I want to look at where the Braves might stand today.

Salty has been decent, especially since he has started his career by transitioning from being an everyday player to a bench player.  McCann isn’t going anywhere, and reports are saying that Thorman will get starts vs. LHP.  That just leaves spot starts for Salty, especially if Pena is to have any kind of role on the team.

I think this may be another sign that the Braves are shopping Salty, because it doesn’t make much sense otherwise to bring up your top prospect, only to have him ride the bench most of the time.  I guess no one but the Braves’ front office staff knows what they’re doing right now, and that might not be such a bad thing.  Hopefully they’ll get a good deal, and we won’t have another Capellan-for-Kolb or Marte-for-Renteria swap (that one could still hurt the Braves, but it’s looking better now).

I’ll try to make this my last post on Salty for a while, unless he gets traded or starts crushing the ball or something.  Just to make this somewhat worthwhile, here are a few stats on him for his young major league career:  3-for-12, .250/.400/.250 batting line, and a 3.5-to-1 FB/GB ratio with 18% of his batted balls being line drives.  He has created approximately 1.5 runs and is +.201 in WPA, with +.165 of that coming from clutch hitting.

The Red Sox are up next after today’s disappointing series-loser against the Nationals.  Beckett won’t be starting, and neither will Wakefield, because Terry Francona’s holding him for the Yankees.  The Braves will probably face AAA callups on Friday and Sunday, with a Smoltz-Matsuzaka matchup in between on Saturday.  The Braves will go with Lerew on Friday and Hudson on Sunday, with the most likely Sox pitchers at this point being Kason Gabbard, Runelvys Hernandez, and/or Devern Hansack.

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