Update: The Braves made this move official, promoting Avilan to replace Jaime.
The #Braves make the Avilan move official. He replaces Jaime in the pen.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) August 14, 2014
Though the overall numbers for Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Juan Jaime have been solid since his arrival in the big leagues, the bullpen certainly does not present an ideal set-up for manager Fredi Gonzalez. In that vein, the club has elected to send Jaime back to triple-A Gwinnett, and in his stead, the proposed plan is to promote veteran left-hander Luis Avilan to the active, 25-man roster.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com (and multiple sources) report that the Jaime move has already been made, and it has to be slightly disappointing for the 27-year-old. In 9 appearances (8 innings), Jaime has posted a 2.25 ERA with a big-time strikeout rate of 14.63 batters per 9 innings, but his control has always plagued him, and the right-hander hasn’t been able to shake that label by walking 5.63 batters per 9 in the big leagues.
The move to go to Avilan could be a shaky one, despite the fact that he would theoretically provide another left-handed option that could be valuable. In the big leagues this season, Avilan walked nearly as many batters (4.55 per 9) as he struck out (5.46 per 9), and that resulted in an ugly 4.85 ERA over 29.2 innings. Things haven’t been any better in the minors, either, as he has posted a 5.40 ERA over 9 appearances while issuing 11 walks against just 6 strikeouts.
David O’Brien of the AJC quoted Gonzalez as referencing Avilan’s minor league work as “solid”, and while that sounds comical, it would appear to be at least part of the reasoning for his promotion. With Luis Avilan and James Russell, the Braves now have a more “traditional” bullpen with two left-handers, but it remains to be seen if either of them can be remotely effective.