LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Released by the Blue Jays on Sunday, Ezequiel Carrera now stands as a candidate to fill a spot on the Braves' Opening Day roster.The Braves signed Carrera to a Minor League deal on Tuesday and provided him an opportunity to spend the remainder of Spring
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Released by the Blue Jays on Sunday, Ezequiel Carrera now stands as a candidate to fill a spot on the Braves' Opening Day roster.
The Braves signed Carrera to a Minor League deal on Tuesday and provided him an opportunity to spend the remainder of Spring Training competing to open the season as either a starting left fielder or backup outfielder.
Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos has some familiarity with Carrera. While serving as Toronto's GM, Anthopoulos signed the left-handed-hitting veteran to a Minor League contract before the 2015 season.
Carrera hit .267 with 17 homers and a .716 OPS as he steadily gained more playing time for Toronto over the past three seasons. He produced a .282 batting average, tallied eight homers and posted a .764 OPS while totaling a career-high 325 plate appearances with the Blue Jays last year. The value provided by his bat has been diminished by his suspect glove.
There is a chance the Braves will bring their top prospect Ronald Acuna Jr. to the Majors in mid-April. Until then, they could fill the left-field position a couple of different ways. One option is to platoon right-handed hitter Lane Adams with Preston Tucker. Other candidates for the role are switch-hitter Danny Santana and prospect Dustin Peterson, who might benefit from additional time at the Triple-A level.
Adams has hit just .182 and struck out in 14 of his 33 at-bats this spring, giving the Braves reason to continue exploring other options. Tucker is hitting .333 (10-for-30) with three doubles, but he draws comparisons to Carrera from a defensive perspective.
According to Statcast™'s Outs Above Average defensive metric, Carrera recorded a minus-6 last year. This ranked 112th among the 125 Major League outfielders who totaled at least 100 opportunities last year.
Carrera is expected to join the Braves on Wednesday. The 30-year-old outfielder went unclaimed after the Blue Jays designated him for assignment on March 1 and then accepted his outright assignment to Toronto's Triple-A roster. But he was given a chance to explore other opportunities when he was granted his release this past weekend.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.