“We still have a taxi squad,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We’ll cut the roster on Friday.”
The Braves have until 11 a.m. ET on Friday to announce the roster they will carry into their Game 1 matchup against the Brewers. Their traveling party consisted of the 26 players who will fill that roster and the taxi squad, which can include up to nine players.
It is interesting to see Atlanta traveling with Pache and Langeliers, who rank as the Braves' top two prospects per MLB Pipeline. Pache spent most of the year in the Minors and Langeliers played just five games after he was recently promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Pache was part of last year’s postseason roster and became Atlanta’s starting center fielder after Adam Duvall strained his oblique in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series against the Dodgers. Pache began this season in Atlanta’s lineup, but his offensive woes led to him spending most of the year with Gwinnett.
Still, Pache could provide value as a late-innings defensive replacement or pinch-runner. The latter role would also perfectly fit Terrance Gore, a 30-year-old speedster who was used to fill spots on the Royals’ and Cubs’ postseason rosters in the past.
“We discuss every scenario and that will be ongoing, probably through [Thursday],” Snitker said.
Richard Rodríguez provided some value after he was initially acquired from the Pirates at the Trade Deadline. But while Rodríguez allowed 13 hits, including five homers, over his final 9 1/3 innings, he made himself a candidate to be excluded from the postseason roster.
If the Braves didn’t carry Rodríguez, they might be able to add both Spencer Strider and Drew Smyly to the roster. Strider is a hard-throwing prospect who made a good impression during a two-appearance audition against the Mets this past weekend. Smyly’s value would likely be to simply provide length if the Braves do indeed use an opener in a potential Game 4.
Excluding Rodríguez from the roster could also give Atlanta a chance to carry an extra position player. It seems unlikely the Braves would carry a third catcher because Travis d'Arnaud will likely be slated to catch every inning of the postseason. So, there would be no need to carry an extra catcher to create opportunities where d’Arnaud could pinch-hit.
But that roster spot could be used to carry another position player like Gore, Pache or maybe even Orlando Arcia, who is tied with Prince Fielder for the most postseason homers (four) in Brewers history.
While the exercise certainly benefits the pitchers, it was also a way to allow the Braves’ position players to see live pitching during this four-day stretch that separates the regular-season finale and Game 1 of the NL Division Series.
“I hopped in there to track some pitches,” Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “Now I can see why everyone talks about [Anderson’s] changeup when they get to first base.”