Braves sign four minor league free agents

The Braves signed four minor league free agents who will likely be non-roster invitees to spring training and potentially fight for bench spots or at least stock the upper levels of the minor leagues.

They are shortstop Ed Lucas, a former eighth round pick of the Royals and Dartmouth graduate who hit .307 with 13 homers last year for Triple-A Omaha; former Mets third base prospect Shawn Bowman, who hit 22 home runs last year in Double-A New Hampshire; Wilkin Castillo, a catcher who can also play in the infield or outfield and outfielder and played 22 games in the majors for the Reds in 2008 and 2009; and outfielder Jose Constanza, an International League All-Star who hit .319 last year for Columbus.

“It’s a group of guys, with good skills and tools, who we think have the ability to help us at the major league level at some point,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said.

30 comments Add your comment

Georgia Tech Fan

November 23rd, 2010
4:55 pm

I hope they end up being good players that will help the Braves in the future.

Henry D.

November 23rd, 2010
5:07 pm

Really? We’re signing career minor leaguers? This is pitiful.

South Georgia Dawg

November 23rd, 2010
5:09 pm

Are the Braves making any moves towards signing any of their Triple A level free agents, such as Clint Sammons or Wes Timmons? Even though Sammons is not a power hitting catcher, he is a good defensive catcher and can call a good game.

Bayou Brave

November 23rd, 2010
5:17 pm

Henry D., you, sir, are an idiot.


November 23rd, 2010
5:23 pm

Bayou Brave:

Your comments about Henry D. are spot on.


November 23rd, 2010
5:27 pm

A’s signed Wes Timmons a couple of days ago. These are all quality minor league guys who could possibly have a breakthrough and help the big club.

George Costanza

November 23rd, 2010
5:29 pm

Jose Constanza…. pretty close.

GT Alum

November 23rd, 2010
5:30 pm

Hmm…haven’t looked at Castillo’s minor league stats, but he seems like a valuable player to have, and hit decently well during the limited ABs he got with Cincy. Wonder why he hasn’t stuck somewhere as an utility guy.


November 23rd, 2010
5:31 pm

Wonder why the Royals let Lucas go. What, they have an overstock of .300 hitting infielders with some power at AAA? Major league roster too stacked?

Mike in Marietta

November 23rd, 2010
5:33 pm

Henry D,
What is even remotely disappointing about this. We are signing minor league free agents to…… minor league contracts. If they have breakthroughs that’s great if they never spend time in atlanta then nothing is lost.

GT Alum

November 23rd, 2010
5:40 pm

Mike in Marietta –

I’m assuming he was one of the mob that was criticizing Wren for signing minor league players and hiring minor league managers before the FA period even began for major leaguers. People who don’t understand that every club takes fliers on guys like this who may earn a bench spot, but most likely will be on the AAA club and think every move the GM makes should be getting a big name that casual fans like them immediately recognize.


November 23rd, 2010
5:53 pm

Henry D, as they say on ESPN… Common Man! However, if you are under 20 or just learning about baseball, you’ll learn and keep asking questions. But avoid the stupid comments like you know better than the Braves front office as to what they should be doing. We have enough of those on here all ready.


November 23rd, 2010
6:03 pm

Ed Lucas of Dartmouth fame should call us for a real JOB


November 23rd, 2010
6:04 pm

if you are under 20
easy with the under 20 comment, you should ask more about his IQ-not his age.
I will say that its these types of moves that fill out major league clubs, and make them competitive year round. The Jose kid can flat run, 4th OF anybody? Bowman, insurance in case prado gets hurt and we need somebody to back up Chipper? No idea what their skill levels are and if they can fill out the roster out of spring training, or just insurance policies available in AAA. These are great signings, and are what make successful organizations, successful

Bobby's Cox

November 23rd, 2010
6:21 pm

These are just minor league contracts guys, so chill. And,reading the article it seems as though all of these guys are good hitters & have tools in some capacity that may be of some contribution during the long course of the season. Personally, i can’t believe we were able to sign FOUR of these players with the resumes that were listed. I looked at the stats of our minor league veterans last week and was appalled. Other than Canizares, the “untradeables,” and our recent draftees (whom many aren’t even in A-ball yet), our A-AAA system runs thin in position players. These appear to be good signings.


November 23rd, 2010
6:52 pm



November 23rd, 2010
11:30 pm

It appears to me that the Major League clubs are just swapping their six year minor league players around. Maybe some that were stuck behind a major league player for one club will find an open spot in his area with the new club that signs him.

Good luck to all the Braves minor leaguers that find new clubs to play for and good luck to the Braves new crop of minor leaugers.

mark bradley's 70's fro and mustache

November 24th, 2010
9:43 am


November 23rd, 2010
6:52 pm

Trade a HOF (chipper jones)? Huffing gas in the morning is bad for you!


November 24th, 2010
10:18 am

you could not get a bite on Chipper at his pay and physical questions. Lee i’m not sure about but It is hard to roll the dice on 10 million$ after the debacles we have had in the past. Money isn’t everything but 20 million would buy a couple of hard hitting outfielders.

Redneck Rick

November 24th, 2010
2:04 pm

I’d play Constanza in CF over McOut right now…


November 24th, 2010
2:30 pm

In some cases, quality prospects are blocked by major leaguers who are playing the same position and who are young. In Shawn Bowman’s case, the Mets have David Wright.

Ed Glennon

November 24th, 2010
2:51 pm

Wes Timmons is a quality guy who worked hard. I was hoping the Braves would have clled him up in September to reward him. I wish him luck.

Mark (another one)

November 24th, 2010
2:57 pm

Look at San Francisco and you will see that many of this year’s stars were last year’s rejects. Sometimes these players will pan out with a new opportunity and a belief that someone in the front office things they were worth a second (or third) chance. We need depth and these guys appear to be able to hit.

Think about a bench role such as Conrad’s and how little you want to pay for those positions. We toss money around in these blogs but at the end of the day, each team needs a few major league minimum players so they can sign a Hudson or a Jones.

It probably isn’t happening at this time of year, but teams also need to stock their minor leagues with appropriate position players. I remember looking at the Rome Braves roster once and noticing they had no catchers and three or four first baseman. Either a someone plays out of position or someone in the front office says, we have so many extra guys to play first, can we trade from depth to get a good catcher. These types of signings provide that positional balance and depth.


November 24th, 2010
3:20 pm

I like these signings, I’ve seen three of them play (Lucas, Castillo and Constanza), and agree with Wren’s comments. Lucas was very impressive at shortstop when I saw him play last season. I think he has a real shot to replacing Infante, because he can play all over. The Royals letting him go reminds me them missing what they had in Diaz. Interestingly, Diaz and Lucas are both from Florida too, lol. Castillo could be our number three catcher in the playoffs next year. It would be nice having a number three who can also play outfield and infield along with catching. Castillo can run a bit too, esp. for a catcher. So he’d be a useful pinch runner as well. Constanza is a speedy little fella, and he was a key reason the Clippers won the championship. He was just great in the playoffs, he reminds me a lot of our own Matt Young who I like a lot. He’s a very good bunter, got a lot of bunt and infield hits in the playoffs. I haven’t seen the Canadian kid Shawn Bowman play but I like his potential and hear he’s solid at third base.

To sum it up, these are solid minor league signings.

PS: I’d also suggest Wren sign Wladimir Balentien to a minor league deal, he’s still a free agent last I checked. I’d also like to see us bring home Micah Owings, he’d help out the bench pinch hitting and could be our long man.


November 24th, 2010
3:24 pm

BTW, I wish both Wes Timmons and Clint Sammons well, but it’s good they move on since they clearly weren’t in the Braves future plans. Timmons may have a shot with the A’s to finally crack the Majors, at least for a cup of coffee. Sammons is a fine catcher, he’s just so poor at the plate.


November 24th, 2010
5:27 pm

I am really glad we signed OF’s!!! We are in desperate need. The 2011 summer draft should be all about getting OF’s; this organization has nothing in the way of OF’s in the pipeline.

Constanza aka cantstandya

November 24th, 2010
10:33 pm

Yeah Baby!!!!!!! Let the festivities begin….It’s Festivus for the rest of us.


November 25th, 2010
11:27 am

wise up brave fans….these owners are taking you for a ride they don’t care about baseball.

What Ever

November 27th, 2010
12:42 pm

TRADE CHIPPER AND LOWE????? Git a grip dude. There ain’t a team in baseball that wants either of those guys with those contracts. The ONLY way Atlanta gets rid of either is eating 99% of their contracts, thus you still have no money to sign anyone!!!! Plus, they are never, ever, never going to trade Jones. Just ain’t gonna happen. Basically, that is like saying the Yankees will trade Jeter for a player to be named later. Ain’t gonna happen.


December 2nd, 2010
10:44 am

semms everyone heres an expert untel you read the comments then one wonders if most of these guys have ever seen a braves game i doubt it ask them anything you want about haystack upotonetc that they should know lol dont dare make a comment abpout one of the hispanics on the team though especially in suuport cause there a bunch of racist pigs who arent even smart enough to know theres more then one kinda racism lol

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