Braves Add Ezequiel Carrera On Minor League Deal

Braves Add Ezequiel Carrera On Minor League Deal

The Braves have signed Ezequiel Carrera just a couple of days after he was released by the Toronto Blue Jays. Immediately, Braves fans saw this signing as the end of Lane Adams, who has struggled this spring after adjusting his swing in the offseason. But who is Carrera? Let’s find out.

Carrera was signed out of Venezuela over a decade ago by the Mets. A speedy outfielder, Carrera was once part of a winter-2008 three-team trade that sent J.J. Putz to the Mets, Luis Valbuena to the Indians, and Franklin Gutierrez to the Mariners. Carrera went to the Mariners with Gutierrez but would be traded a year-and-half later to the Indians for Russell Branyan. That led the way for Carrera to make his debut in 2011, where he posted a .277 wOBA over 226 PA. Similar results the next two seasons in declining amount of PA.

In 73 PA with the Tigers in 2014, Carrera continued to do very little except splash some speed. The next offseason, he signed with the Blue Jays. It’s with the Jays that he finally found a home hitting .267/.336/.380 over three years and 827 PA. His improvement with Toronto included last season, when he set new personal highs in most offensive categories, including eight homeruns. During his time in Toronto, he posted a .315 wOBA and a 95 wRC+ – numbers improved by a big 2018. One slight change last season – he hit more line drives and less groundballs.

It’s worth mentioning that at best, Carrera profiles as a platoon option. A left-handed hitter, he hasn’t shown much ability at all against southpaws. As a result, the Jays shielded him against left-handed pitchers as frequently as possible. His job in Toronto was threatened by their offseason moves and ultimately, they did him a solid by just releasing him now. As you might expect, Carrera is out of options.

Defensively, Carrera was a graduate of “well, he’s fast so put him in center” school of baseball thinking that mercifully has begun to die off. He’s certainly not a slow runner, but with a sprint speed of 27.9 ft/sec, he ranked just 122nd last season, slower than potential competition like Lane Adams (29.1 ft/sec) and Danny Santana (28.8 ft/sec). Speed isn’t everything, but Carrera’s defensive metrics are all below-average. To be fair, it’s tough to properly grade defensive capability with such a smattering of innings each year at the three outfield positions, but Carrera isn’t impressive. He ranked 297th in catch probability (Matt Kemp ranked 309th, dead last) and 195th in Outs Above Average (Kemp ranked 207th, again the worst).

As for where Carrera fits in for the Braves, I honestly have trouble seeing it. While Lane Adams has stunk this spring, he did everything Carrera did last season – only better. Preston Tucker has his issues but provides a possible power bat off the bench. Of course, not knowing the conditions of Carrera’s contract, the belief may be that Carrera will make a good player to stash in Triple-A. That’s tough to argue against. He provides a league-average-like bat against right-hand pitching. He also can fill-in short-term should the Braves need someone early on this season. After all, he is a better fit on the major league roster than Jaff Decker or Xavier Avery.

What do you guys think? Is Carrera a sneaky-good signing who will help out the bench or is he just minor league depth? Let me know.

2 Comments

Sign Jake Cave and let that be the end of Carrera and Adams and Tucker…… (well, OK, not Adams). I think this is a crap signing and was only done because he is a pet of AA. AA is starting to wear on me really fast. He is only doing easy stuff or what comes with familiarity. He is not doing anything to assess the actual Braves or improve the Braves. C’mon – Carrera, Ravin, Dayton, Whitley…. These are nothing but roster fodder. And I know they will not even try to recognize if something better than Charlie Culberson comes along. Adding someone like Dickerson or Cave would be improvement for now and improvement for the future. Guys that are young and come with future value and fill current holes. And they cost little to nothing.

I agree with Roger- if you’re going to take a chance on a guy, gamble on a young player who might actually fill a need, ala a Jake Cave. Granted, Carrera’s not that old, but he’s old enough that everyone knows what he is. And the last thing the Braves need is another punch-less, platoon-ish type OF who can’t even field all that well. As crazy as it is to say, they already have a better version of Carrera on the team in the form of Nick Markakis. It’s not even as if they’ll be able to platoon them when Acuna comes up, either.

If this is just a minor league depth signing, I guess it’s fine. It’s still pointless though, and there’d be better options.

AA is also starting to test my patience. If the Braves wanted a GM who’d just dabble around the edges, and sign AAAA type guys in the hope one of them hits, and to simply keep defending the strategy by saying I need time to evaluate talent- I’d have done the job for a quarter of the salary, and the free trips to the games. I’m just not a fan of his team building strategies so far.

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