Braves sign 14 minor league free agents, invite 11 to camp

The Braves announced the signing of 14 minor league free agents on Tuesday, including 11 who have been invited to spring training. Among the non-roster invitees are six players who saw time in the major leagues last season, including catcher J.C. Boscan, who returns for a 13th season in the Braves organization and his 15th in the minors overall.

Other familiar faces in camp will be left-hander Yohan Flande, who was a non-roster invitee last season before spending the year on the Gwinnett Braves’ staff, and first baseman Ernesto Mejia. Mejia is back for his eighth minor league season in the Braves’ system after leading Double-A Mississippi in home runs (26), RBIs (99) and doubles (37) last year, while hitting .297.

The Braves signed five newcomers who played in the major leagues last season: infielder Josh Wilson, who hit .224 with two home runs in 60 games with the Diamondbacks and Brewers; infielder Drew Sutton, who split time between Triple-A Pawtucket and the Red Sox, for whom he hit .315 in 31 games while playing all four infield positions; reliever Adam Russell, a right-hander who went 1-2 with a 3.03 ERA in 36 games in relief for Tampa Bay; left-hander Dusty Hughes, who pitched in 15 games in relief for Minnesota (1-0, 9.95 ERA); and outfielder Luis Durango, who appeared in two games last season for the Astros and has hit .292 in 65 major league games total.

Outfielder Jordan Parraz hit .289 in 126 games for the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate Scranton Wilkes-Barre last season. Right-hander Jason Rice spent most of last season in Triple-A Pawtucket, going 4-5 with a 3.69 ERA in 44 games (one start). And catcher Jose Yepez comes from the Mariners’ organization where he hit .307 with 26 RBIs in 48 games last season for Triple-A Tacoma.

The remaining three players who were signed to minor league contracts were left-hander Jose Lugo, who returns for his second year in the Braves’ system, first baseman Ian Gac and outfielder Brahiam Maldonado.

49 comments Add your comment


November 22nd, 2011
8:41 pm

Pretty sad when a team has a epic collapse this past season and this is the biggest thing they have done since then. As long as Liberty Media owns the Braves, we can expect many more seasons like the one they just had. Pretty damn sad.


November 22nd, 2011
8:50 pm

Biggest thing BravesfaninWis? What about the trade of Lowe to free up some money. Rome wasn’t built in a day my friend. What kind of big thing are you hoping they do this soon into the offseason??

Braves Fan

November 22nd, 2011
8:56 pm

BravesfaninWis….this is why they are called minor league free agent signings!!


November 22nd, 2011
9:01 pm

Drew Sutton is a good pick up. He’s got good minor league peripherals and can play the entire infield. Would be a nice cheap replacement for Prado if they trade him.


November 22nd, 2011
9:03 pm

BTW, BravesfaninWisc. It’s not even the winter meetings yet. Most teams have been waiting for the CBA to get finished so they would know the score in regards to TYPE A Free Agent draft compensation. I expect more deals to happen in the next week or two. But most of the big trades/ signings will happen between Dec 5th and mid January.


November 22nd, 2011
9:07 pm

I like the Sutton move as well. These are the under the radar moves that improve teams. Adam Russell looks like he could vie for a bullpen spot this spring as well. Good moves by Wren.


November 22nd, 2011
9:08 pm

I have great hope and antisipation for the upcoming season. Been a die hard Braves fan since I was a kid in 1966 and I get fired up every year about this time of the year. Always interesting watching these minor league free agent signings, never know when you find a diamond in the rough. Really dislike all the negative comments about our Braves and our Leadership. Lots of fairweather fans around Atlanta.

Mark (another one)

November 22nd, 2011
9:19 pm

I don’t know these players and I know most will never play significant time for the Braves at the major league level, but I also don’t see these signings as the most significant developments of the offseason, or the least significant.

Let’s give the front office some time to figure out what they can do to round out our roster. Our needs are well defined.


November 22nd, 2011
9:35 pm

Enter your comments here

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jacks BBQ

November 22nd, 2011
10:01 pm

Thanks for the update. Headed to Jesup, GA tomorrow to eat at the original Billy Jack’s Barbecue (near the Walmart). Glad to have some baseball news before hitting the road.

Happy Turkey Day Brave’s fans.


November 22nd, 2011
10:07 pm

I know some of these guys. you need to have a minor league roster also. some may be useful as call- ups. no risk or downside here.
also, they don’t cost much – very important for the Braves.
can’t backfire like some of our trades.


November 22nd, 2011
10:08 pm

BRAVES REALLY? ya’ll need a shortstop!!!!!!!!!!! ya’ll ain’t playing for no worldseries next year ya’ll want one in another one in 10 years, you gotta risk it to get the biscut TRADE PRADO AND JURRJENS FOR ELITE PLAYERS


November 22nd, 2011
10:23 pm

Orange Brave, what time will you be in Jesup @Billy Jacks? I’m taking my brother to Jesup tomorrow for Dr. appt….may could meet up as old Braves fans.


November 22nd, 2011
10:43 pm

More PROOF that the “Apology” Letter sent to the fans for the Brave’s Playoff Collaspe was a BLANTANT LIE!!!!!!!!!!

This is the way Liberty CHEAPIA and Frank Wren (the good soldier) roll… adding “pig-in-a-poke” mediocre, garage sale, bargain basement, no talent BUMS to the Braves roster… the one thing all these “additions” have in common is they’re ALL AFFORDABLE.

Instead of Frank Wren acquiring all these “camp fodder” guys, he should be on the phone with the Yankees trying to trade for SS Eduardo Nunez, a budding, young, “affordable” SS who would be a SOLID addition to the Braves. No, Frank ( will sign NO-TALENT washed-up BUMS like Jack Wilson or Brendan Ryan.

Once again, WHY is Matt Diaz (he rakes lefthanders you know) still on the Braves roster and in their plans for 2012????!!!!! “Double Play” Matty Diaz is the STIFF who (quoting the AJC) “managed to keep his sense of humor after the Braves Playoff collaspe.” Real funny Matt… do we want a no-talent BUM like Diaz hampering the Braves already offensively challenged lineup???!!!! A career year for Diaz now is .240 with 6 HRs. Frank and Liberty CHEAPIA are determined to give this BUM 300+ ABs in 2012. Diaz is a guy who could NOT make any other MLB roster.

Arthur Blank…. please save us from the CHEAP tyranny of Liberty CHEAPIA!!!!!!


November 22nd, 2011
10:53 pm

Im not feelin the CHEAPIA joke. its just not good. maybe if you had a word that ended in a ‘D’. and why do you bother following a bunch of bums?? I dont think theyre bums, and thats because Im a Braves fan. I think you can take your lame ass comments and go to hell


November 22nd, 2011
10:55 pm

Man….. You guys are being hard on FW. The winter meetings are not here yet, slow down.

DOB…… Does a trade of JJ to the Twins for a package built around Aaron Hicks make sense for both clubs?


November 22nd, 2011
11:18 pm

Seems like some people don’t understand exactly what is going on here. The majority of these guys will not see a single game with the big club, they are minor league filler and insurance policies. Every now and again a guy like this will come up big Jose Constanza was a minor league free agent, so was Brooks Conrad. It’s just due diligence to pick up some guys with a little value who can come through if they have to.


November 22nd, 2011
11:39 pm

Now that the braves will not have to give up a first round pick I think willingham will be the braves number one target. Him in the six hole behind mac is perfect. It puts chipper hitting second but him seeing alot of fast balls is a good thing to me.
enter SS here lol.


November 23rd, 2011
12:08 am

I’ve never understood the incredible love Josh Willingham has gotten from Braves fans. He’s a decent bat, but not great. If the rumors are true that he is looking for a 3 or 4 year deal at 10 mil plus per, I say NO! He’ll be 33 before the season starts. His numbers fell off this year and he’s already headed out of his prime.


November 23rd, 2011
5:05 am

Just say no to Willingham…better yet hell no!
Yes to Nunez if we could get him.
Agree Diaz is a joke. When he returned to Braves the last month of season the Team went south..get rid on Diaz.

Got to drive to Jesup for 1:30 Dr. appt and been up all night…should be a great day we a million on the roads for Thanksgiving. Will check out Billy Jacks BBQ after appt.

Notso Fast

November 23rd, 2011
5:11 am

WE need to look for younger players that may be heading to their prime not leaving it. We aren’t one of those teams that are just a player away. We need at least 2 years to rebuild.


November 23rd, 2011
8:02 am

I thought many of these above stated sentiments too when I first read of these signings on multiple blogs elsewhere. Then I it was posted here.


November 23rd, 2011
8:33 am

For the one hundreth no to Willingham he is not a impact player, guys like him are not what championships are made from. He is a decent hitter, poor fielder something people don’t pay attention to until we get them and than complain about.


November 23rd, 2011
8:50 am

I saw Durango in a few games with Houston and he looked pretty good, my recollection is that he very good speed.


November 23rd, 2011
8:55 am

I also wonder why the Braves don’t get some left handed pitching? What about Mark Burhele (not sure of spelling).

Tampa Gator

November 23rd, 2011
9:20 am


Obviously, you were not around in the 70’s watching the Braves play in front of 2,000 fans in the old stadium with Marty Perez at short, Mike Lum at first, Rowland Office in center….and Pat Jarvis on the mound….if you weren’t… have not idea what “sad” is…….

Winning 90 games and competing with 2 or 3 other top teams to make the playoffs is definitely NOT sad. And the Braves perfromance last year would have put them in the playoffs based on the new baseball playoff system, I believe. Soon….every team will make the playoffs….just like the NBA, NFL, and the NHL……and making the playoffs will become deluted, boring, and unimportant….and that is sad.

Tampa Gator

November 23rd, 2011
9:23 am


The last thing the Braves need is pitching….unless they trade a righthander for a lefthander straight up. What they need is a power hitting outfielder and an everyday shortstop that can both field and hit. Those things are hard to come by. I think some of you will miss Gonzalez at SS next year….unless the Braves surprisingly resign him.

Bob the Blogger

November 23rd, 2011
10:18 am

I don’t understand the rational for all of the doom and gloom. If you subtract Lowe’s 9-17 record from the season, you get a record of 80-56 for the rest of the team. That’s a .588 winning pct which translates to 95 wins for 162 games. That includes Uggla’s slump, Heyward’s slump, injuries to McCann, JJ, Prado and Hanson, and the September swoon. It only includes 1/2 year of Bourn in CF. Lowe is gone, we have great young pitchers to replace him, and winter meetings to make a few upgrades.


November 23rd, 2011
10:42 am

J.C. Boscan is a pretty expensive bullpen catcher.


2 hot scott

November 23rd, 2011
12:34 pm

The Durango Kid?

What about Georgie?

2 hot scott

November 23rd, 2011
12:47 pm

Tampa Gator,

What was sad was an afternoon doubleheader sitting in centerfield in July in the ’70s, watching Vic Correll, Sugar Bear Blanks, Lum, Perez, and a pitching staff of Max Leon, Jamie Easterly and Roric Harrison, but we did have Dusty Baker, Ralph Garr, Darrell Evans and Niekro.

DOB / Carroll,

Have you guys ever thought of doing a “Where are they now?” piece during the off-season, when the baseball news is slow?


November 23rd, 2011
1:43 pm

I agree with Bob the Blogger — Why all the negative comments about the Braves on a supposedly Brave fan site? Get over yourselves people!

The Braves have improved for the coming season already, and this is before the Winter Meetings.
1) younger stud pitchers picking up Lowe’s 34 starts,
2) Heyward has to improve over last year’s numbers (he’s simply too good not to do so)
3) Uggla has to improve over last year’s numbers, at least the batting average and RBI (based on past numbers and him not needing to try to prove himself)
4) McCann will likely improve over last year’s numbers, at least in RBI because of Bourn
5) the middle of the batting order overall will see an improvement in RBI due to a true lead-off hitter (Bourn) being in scoring position more often than last year’s 1 hole hitters
6) the 2-hole hitter in the batting order will see more fastball’s due to a true lead-off hitter (Bourn)

Frank Wren has proven himself to be a fine GM. He will continue to improve this team, if not at the Winter Meetings, then shortly thereafter, because of the move[s] he will complete/setup at the Winters Meetings.

Fans of baseball should already have learned some patience — it’s a 162 game season! The off-season has a lot of time still. And, historically, more moves take place at and after the Winter Meetings than before them. Give it some time before you act like Philly fans — remember Philadelphia fans (football) threw snowballs at Santa on year.

We southerners are used to a slower pace in our lives than our kin folks from the northeast. Relax, enjoy the holidays, have a little faith. Besides, you can’t do a dang thing about it any way. So, in the word of an old Irish saying and as a name of a bar on the south side of Atlanta used to be called, “Kwitchyerbellyakin”.


November 23rd, 2011
4:39 pm


Seriously, the Derek Lowe trade you constitute as being big? The Braves HAD to do that move, that was a given.

I understand that its not the winter meetings yet, I get that. However, the only thing we have been linked to so far is trading away players (Lowe is gone, and the rumors of Prado and Jurrgens) When a team has a collapse like the Braves just did, usually they try to improve their team yet we haven’t been linked to one single top FA to date. Why can’t the Braves be in on the Jose Reyes talk? Not saying I like the guy, he is cocky and for himself, but he is a scrappy young player that would fill a glaring need for this team and be one hell of a 1-2 punch with Bourne at the top of the lineup. The Braves have been almost non existent since the season ended yet we are hearing so much about the Marlins, Phillies, and Nationals. That is all that I am getting at.
Tampa Gator

November 23rd, 2011
9:20 am


Obviously, you were not around in the 70’s watching the Braves play in front of 2,000 fans in the old stadium with Marty Perez at short, Mike Lum at first, Rowland Office in center….and Pat Jarvis on the mound….if you weren’t… have not idea what “sad” is…….

No I wasn’t, sorry I was born in 1978 so I am not that old. I do however remember the Braves of the 80’s, though not real clear because again I was really young at the time. All I know is when a team is leading the WC in Sept by 8 or more games, they should have no problems winning the WC, thus the Braves are sad right now. Not every team can win every year, but the Braves sure find ways to not win every year. Your record doesn’t mean jack crap when you are not making the playoffs, getting bounced from the playoffs in the first round when you do make it, or whatever the case may be.

The Braves won their division 14 straight years, which means they went to the playoffs 14 straight years. That is pretty impressive, but only winning 1 WS Title in that time frame is pathetic. If the Yankees, Red Sox, or Phillies were to go to the playoffs 14 straight years, I would bet a years worth of salary that they would all win more than 1 WS Title. Hell, the Marlins did more then that and they never came close to making the playoffs in that many consecutive years. That is my point, the Braves always try to make teams out of luck, and its run its course.

Coach (2011 Fredi G. FAILED)

November 23rd, 2011
5:49 pm

Luis Durango, Yohan Flande and Dusty Hughes are all likely to see playing time in Atlanta next year.

Da Mick

November 23rd, 2011
8:18 pm

I’d hate to see a dynamic impact player like Martin Prado traded, or removed, for the likes of Willingham. Yes, Martin had an uneven season this past year, but he’s already shown what kind of player he is, year upon year. And that kind of player is precisely the kind that made up the Cardinals this year, and allowed them to come through in those many clutch situations. The Braves have had so few players like that through the years, and now we’re ready to just toss him off to presumably get some ideal “power hitter” that’s going to magically change our fortunes.

Consider this: it’s an oddity that power-hitting Dan Uggla plays second base, as most power-hitters are typically either corner infielders or outfielders. Under normal circumstances, Prado would be an outstanding 2nd baseman to have, both offensively and defensively. But as he’s been displaced from that position by the power of Uggla, he’s had to play left field. If Uggla played outfield, we wouldn’t be looking to get trade Martin, as everything would be “normal” in terms of the types of players at each position. So why not accept that position flip-flop and let the players fulfil their roles in the line-up. Not everyone needs to be a power hitter, and Martin has driven more than his share of key RBIs in clutch situations. Who do we think we’re really going to get by trading him that’s going to have as much of a game-to-game impact as he’s had since he’s become an everyday player years back? The only reason we’re even looking at his position for more power is because we’re no longer getting enough from 3rd base and right field — positions where we should be looking to get HRs.

We’re stuck with Chipper Jones for, hopefully, this one more year. If Heyward continues to struggle, he needs to be sent down to work things out for an extended period. But in the meantime, don’t screw up the chemistry and balance of this line-up up by trying borrowing from Peter to put a band-aid on Paul. Martin is a rare commodity; leave him alone and let him do his thing right here.

Don’t get me started on JJ. With his pitching smarts and ability, he may onne day very well come close to being as good as Greg Maddox. We will regret trading him. You can count on it.


November 23rd, 2011
8:36 pm

Look at it this way the braves didnt make the world serries but they gave it a hell of a try. What i say is look at how many teams are worse than the braves…

Brave New World

November 23rd, 2011
8:56 pm

Willingham at $10 mill per year would be a bad move. What about Juan Pierre at about $6 million? He could play left field and platoon with Diaz. He has no arm or power, but he gets on base and he steals.

Biff Pocoroba

November 23rd, 2011
9:04 pm

Put me in coach!!!

Cracked Bats

November 23rd, 2011
9:13 pm

Give it a few more seasons and the Braves will become the Pittsburg Pirates! A team that trades a player away as soon as he becomes arbitration eligible or takes on Scott Boras as his agent!

Freddie Freeman will be here four or five more seasons and then be GONE – I wouldn’t even bet that B-MAC will be “deemed affordable” by the powers that be. Heck, we can’t even afford to keep Pardo?

The Braves CAN NEVER be a TRUE contender with this limited payroll and unwillingness to go after a free agent outfielder that just might hit 25 to 30 home runs and drive in 85 to a 100 runs.

Liberty Media needs to sell the Braves to an owner who wants to win at all costs.

Too bad Mr. Blank doesn’t want to get together a group of his friends and buy the team….Mr. Blank, please go in with just a couple of your friends that have a love of baseball and buy the Braves and restore them to their rightful place.

Just not anyone associated with the Atlanta Spirit Group.

Bobby Dews

November 24th, 2011
9:30 pm


November 25th, 2011
4:28 pm

okay.. enough is enough.. those complaining that the Braves and of course Liberty Media has not done anything. Complaining that all of these other teams have done so much and that the Braves are missing out on all of the FA talent. What has the Yanks done, what about Boston, What about Cards, Brewers, Angels etc.. There has been 1 hand full of teams that have made any moves at all… so chill, relax. If you are just looking for something to complain about.. then go ahead,.. but geez people STOP,, you are not making yourself look too intelligent.


November 26th, 2011
10:52 am

Da Mick
you were serious on the comparation of jj with greg maddux?…don’t answer me in a hurry , take a time…. I mean ,,, you were serious on it?


November 26th, 2011
6:51 pm

BravesfaninWis is probably wondering why they have not made an offer to fielder or pujols yet. :|


November 27th, 2011
3:56 pm

as long as wren wont trade pitching for hitting. the braves wont win world series.


November 28th, 2011
1:00 pm

Got alot of managers here posting stuff,If you guy’s are so good why are you wasting time sitting at a computer,go out and get one of those manager’s job and make some real money


November 30th, 2011
10:51 am

The Braves are Americas team.They will sell tickets and make big money, but the players they get will never be big time.The game has changed but not the braves.Same old Braves


December 1st, 2011
7:23 pm

why trade two good players. Give Jordan PARRAZ and DREW SUTTON a chance.

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September 26th, 2013
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