It was just annouced today that the Braves picked up their 2011 options on super utilityman Omar Infante, and on starting shortshop Alex Gonzalez. Both options were expected to be picked up, and no one should be surprised at them. Gonzalez's option was for only $2.5 million, and despite the massive amounts of hatred he gets on Twitter, he was worth the pickup...but then again, Yunel Escobar will make just as much, and he's a better player, so the point is really moot. Gonzalez made some absolutely fantastic plays in the field, but he also had a lot of crappy boneheaded plays that ended up costing the team runs. With the bat, he was about Escobar's equal...not the huge upgrade that Frank Wren envisioned when he acquired Gonzalez from Toronto back in July. In the end, it is what it is: the Braves will have an adequate shortstop starting in 2011 without dedicating a whole lot of money towards its, and that's that.
As for Infante, he'll also make $2.5 million in 2011, and this one seems much easier to comprehend. Omar played everywhere in 2010...5 positions, to be exact (both outfield corners, both positions up the middle, and third base), and put up a career high .775 OPS in 506 plate appearances. Sure, he couldn't take a walk and hit for no power at all...but dammit, he was a solid contributor to the team. Next season, if his at bats are limited to 300 or so and he's not forced into a starting role, he'll be even more valuable to the team. Infante started to struggle terribly once the calendar turned to September, and it really started to show over the last 2 weeks of the year. He's a fantastic bench player...you just don't want him starting every day,
In another little move, the Braves re-signed Scott Proctor to a one year deal for $750,000. This, in my mind, is a terribly stupid move. Proctor, who was recovering from shoulder surgery all season, was bad at every level he pitched at in the minors, and just as bad in the majors. But yet, he's worth 3/4 of a million dollars? When you've got someone like Stephen Marek in Gwinnett waiting for his shot? Stupid move. The contract is guaranteed too, so if Proctor comes into the spring and stinks things up, you've got an expensive mop up man on your hands. There are better options internally, especially with the losses of Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito to retirement and release, respectively.
One more, even more minor move before we leave...the Braves reinstated Jairo Asencio to the 40-man roster. Just who the hell is Jairo Asencio, you ask? Why, its the pitcher formerly known as Luis Valdez, who missed all of the 2010 season with visa issues. I expected Asencio/Valdez to compete for a roster spot going into the year...fat lot of good that expectation did me. Now, I expect him to do the same in 2011. Here's hoping he's been throwing all year, and that is arm is still in good shape.
And a pair more of notes, bear with me...the options on Kyle Farnsworth and Rick Ankiel were declined, as expected. Man, I wish the team had Tim Collins right about now...he'd slot perfectly into that bullpen.