The Atlanta Braves have voided their deal with reliever Jordan Walden.
The Atlanta Braves have made a living over the past few seasons signing high upside veterans to affordable deals and dealing them for prospects. One of those deals was signing former Brave Jordan Walden to a minor league deal.
This week both sides mutually decided to void the deal after Walden didn’t progress as he was expected to. Walden served as the Braves top setup option before being traded to the Cardinals with Jason Heyward in exchange for starter Shelby Miller. Miller in turn was traded to Arizona for Ender Inciarte and Dansby Swanson.
Since then Walden has struggled to be a productive pitcher pitching only 10 innings in 2015 and not pitching at all last season because of a shoulder injury. If Walden can eventually prove himself healthy he should have no trouble finding work based on his past success. The fact that both sides were ready to walk away would insinuate that Walden is nowhere near ready to pitch again and could be rehabbing well into the season.
Losing Walden doesn’t hurt the Braves’ bullpen considering that he wasn’t slotted into it to begin with. The Braves will be counting on veteran closer Jim Johnson with a lot of young talented arms behind him in the bullpen. The Braves have brought Blaine Boyer back as well with a Spring invite and an opportunity to earn a bullpen spot.
The Braves bullpen looks to be one of their strengths on a team that has a lot of questions headed into the season. The biggest question for the Braves bullpen will be if Jim Johnson can continue the success he had as a closer last season and not revisit the struggles that have popped up the last few years of his career.
If he can continue to dominate as a closer the Braves bullpen will be one of the better pens in the National League on a team that will need all the help they can get.