The Braves made a series of roster moves Wednesday as they moved to finalize their opening-day roster later in the day, optioning third baseman Rio Ruiz to Triple-A Gwinnett and reassigning outfielders Ezequiel Carrera and Danny Santana, infielder Sean Kazmar and pitcher Anibal Sanchez to minor league camp.
After the signings of infielder/outfielder Ryan Flaherty and outfielder Peter Bourjos to one-year major league contracts in the last days of spring training, Ruiz became expendable and had an option remaining, meaning he could be sent to Triple-A without being exposed to waivers. The Braves are stressing defense, and Flaherty is an above-average defender at several positions including third base.
Santana had an outstanding spring, but both he and Carrera are on minor-league deals, which meant they could be sent to Triple-A and then called up if and when they are needed later in the season. For either to begin the season on the major league roster, the Braves would’ve had to make a 40-man roster move to accommodate them and neither could have been sent to Triple-A during the season without clearing waivers since each is out of options. Doing it this way provides more depth and flexibility in case of injuries later.
Sanchez is scheduled to move into the rotation when the Braves need a fifth starter for the first time April 10, but since he signed a minor league contract he can begin the season on the Triple-A roster, freeing a spot on the Braves’ roster for an extra position player, perhaps outfielder Lane Adams (out of options) unless the Braves make another late trade or signing.