Orr is Going, Going, Gone!
Update: Orr was released today by the Braves. Not exactly a surprise there but worth noting anyways.
Got back from the Bahamas last Sunday late so I'm going to start catching up from my week off. Teams had to finalize their 40-man rosters before the Rule V Draft this past week and utility infielder Pete Orr fell victim to the process. It really wasn't a surprise though since Orr contributed nothing aside from above-average speed. Orr solidified a three-year run as a main utility infielder of the Atlanta bench when he hit .300 during his rookie season, however he regressed to .253 the next year and managed a measly .200 average in 56 games this past season. He was designated for assignment so he'll probably opt to become a free agent but his chances are slim for landing a spot on a major league roster. Willy Aybar, Martin Prado, and Brent Lillibridge are some of the in-house options that'll compete for the spot on the bench along with a veteran that Wren has said he'd like to bring in.
With Orr off the 40-man roster, Frank Wren chose to protect three minor league pitchers. Charlie Morton, who really raised his stock late in the season and in the fall league was moved onto the 40-man along with Zach Schreiber and Jairo Cuevas. Morton and Schreiber are the only two that really have a good shot to contribute this next season. The two hard-throwing righties could be called upon when someone goes down with an injury and Morton has at least a small shot to make the pen out of spring training. Don't get worried that Kris Medlen wasn't protected though, he isn't yet eligible to be taken in the Rule V Draft.
The player that was left off which everyone seems to be bringing up is Dan Smith. His minor league numbers are impressive but the scouting report just doesn't match up. The big left-hander is a two-pitch pitcher with a fastball in the 88-91 range and a decent changeup. Basically, he is a very poor man's Chuck James. His future seems to be as a fringe major-leaguer or journeyman. I've heard lefty specialist from some fans but without a good breaking ball, that route is pretty much closed off to him.