Feb. 25, 2021 –
BY KEVIN MCALPIN
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – As the Braves inch closer to their first Grapefruit League game of the new year, the team that takes the field on Sunday is likely not a finished product. A few questions still remain when it comes to rounding out the roster. Who will serve as backup to Travis d’Arnaud? How about the back of the bullpen? What will the final spot or two on the bench look like?
I’ve got a funny feeling the team could still add a veteran backstop, giving guys like Alex Jackson, William Contreras and Shea Langeliers the ability to get four at bats a day in the Minors. The latter two, Contreras and Langeliers look to be the catchers of the future, but wouldn’t benefit all that much from getting a handful of at bats per week. So, I wouldn’t rule out the club looking outside the organization to find another veteran to pair with d’Arnaud.
As for the bench, that continues to be a work in progress as the Braves bank on upside when it comes to guys like Pablo Sandoval, Jason Kipnis and most recently Jake Lamb. When camps near the final two weeks, players will have opt out clauses or be cut loose, so I would expect Alex Anthopoulos to look elsewhere to continue to amp up the competition for reserves.
Finally, losing right handed options like Mark Melancon and Darren O’Day in the pen, could leave a void and an opportunity for a reunion with former All Star closer Shane Greene.
All these questions will be answered over the next five weeks. Our coverage starts on Sunday as you can hear the call of the Braves and reigning AL Champion Rays at 1:05pm ET on the Braves Radio Network.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet