The Atlanta Braves agreed to sign infielder Mat Gamel to a minor league contract, an industry source told Sportsnet. The former Milwaukee Brewers first baseman hit free agency earlier this month when the Chicago Cubs non-tendered him.
This is a solid pick up for the Braves, as the move comes with relatively no risk and a decent chance of getting a valuable player. Gamel is a 28-year-old corner infielder who has spent his entire career with the Milwaukee Brewers organization. He came into the fold as a highly ranked player, but has spent the past two seasons dealing with torn ACLs. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors writes:
Gamel, 26, didn’t play in 2013 after tearing his ACL for a second conseutive season. Formerly rated as one of the game’s top prospects (Baseball America had him No. 34 in all of baseball prior to the 2009 season), Gamel has posted a .229/.305/.367 batting line in 269 Major League plate appearances.
If Gamel can get healthy, (ideally) he could provide the Braves with a really strong left-handed option off of the bench and give the regulars at 1B and 3B a rest now and again. His most recent numbers (with regular time) come from 2011, when Gamel lit it up for the Rockies Triple-A club.
He hit .310/.372/.540 with 28 home runs in 128 games. Those stats alone show that Gamel still has the potential that made him such a highly rated player, and if he can get healthy and stay that way for a full season, he could become an extremely valuable addition to the team.
Check below for reactions to the signing from my twitter feed: