ATLANTA -- The Braves crossed a couple items off their wish list Wednesday, acquiring Lucas Duda from the Royals for cash considerations and claiming Rene Rivera off waivers from the Angels.Duda will attempt to satisfy the Braves' desire to add a capable left-handed presence to their bench. He could join
ATLANTA -- The Braves crossed a couple items off their wish list Wednesday, acquiring Lucas Duda from the Royals for cash considerations and claiming Rene Rivera off waivers from the Angels.
Duda will attempt to satisfy the Braves' desire to add a capable left-handed presence to their bench. He could join the Braves as early as Thursday. Rivera will provide some insurance while serving as a third catcher during the season's final month. He is not expected to arrive before rosters expand on Saturday.
Since coming up short in their attempt to acquire Matt Adams, the Braves had continued to pursue a left-handed pinch hitter with some power potential. Duda slashed .242/.310/.413 with 13 homers in 345 plate appearances for the Royals this year. He batted .267 (59-for-221) with 11 homers and an .808 OPS against right-handed pitchers.
Rivera hit .244 with four homers and a .726 OPS over 87 plate appearances for the Angels. The 10-year veteran was activated from the disabled list Aug. 15, after missing 76 games with right knee inflammation.
With their 40-man roster now full, the Braves will have some interesting decisions to make regarding the possibility of adding Brandon McCarthy, Ryan Flaherty and Kyle Wright to the active roster when it expands Saturday. These acquisitions also further lessen the likelihood third baseman Austin Riley will be brought to the Majors this year.
Flaherty has been playing for Triple-A Gwinnett since being designated for assignment and outrighted last week. There was initial thought he would return to Atlanta's roster in September, but with Duda present to serve as a left-handed pinch hitter and Rio Ruiz already on the active roster, Atlanta may have a hard time justifying creating a 40-man spot for Flaherty, who was 4-for-30 as pinch-hitter this year.
When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.
McCarthy has altered his delivery to lessen the right knee discomfort that has sidelined him since late June. The veteran hurler, who will retire at the end of this year, spent the past couple weeks prepping for a potential bullpen role. If he is activated from the 60-day disabled list, the Braves could create a 40-man roster spot by removing Wes Parsons.
Unlike Touki Toussaint and Bryse Wilson, Wright is not currently on the 40-man roster. So, while adding the 22-year-old's power arsenal to the bullpen is intriguing, Atlanta would have to do some maneuvering, or possibly decide between him and McCarthy.
Eyebrows were raised when Kolby Allard was recalled and Chad Sobotka was optioned to Gwinnett before Wednesday night's game against the Rays. Allard has proven he is not ready for the Major League level and Sobotka has established some value as he has spent the past couple weeks in Atlanta's bullpen.
But by making this move, the Braves ensured Allard and Sobotka will exit the season with three option years remaining. A player must remain on optional assignment for 20 days for the option to count. Allard was at 19 days.
Allard will be available to serve as a long-relief option if necessary. Once the rosters expand Saturday, Atlanta will re-establish depth in its bullpen to compensate for the absence of Sobotka, who will be eligible to return to the big league roster Sept. 9.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.