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Braves Sign Ramon Laureano to Minor League Deal

The Braves signed an outfielder Ramon Laureano in a minor league deal, reports FanSided's Robert Murray on X. The pitcher was recently released by the Rangers and will likely head to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Laureano, now 29, got off to a hot start to his major league career but was served an 80-game PED suspension and hasn't been back on track since. With the Athletics from 2018 to 2021, he made 1,257 plate appearances and hit 49 home runs in that span. He hit .263/.335/.465 overall with a wRC+ of 119, indicating that his offense was 19% better than the league average during that time. He also stole 34 bases and was considered a solid outfielder.

But in 2021, as mentioned, he would be tested positive for Nandrolone, a banned performance-enhancing substance. He returned to the A's in 2022 but slashed .211/.287/.376 that year with a wRC+ of 95. He struggled again in 2023, hitting .213/.280/.364 for the A's before they waived him. .

Guardians filed a claim and saw a slight decline late last year. In 41 games for Cleveland, Laureano hit three home runs and stole four bases, hitting .243/.342/.382 with a 106 wRC+. The Rangers apparently encouraged that, as they offered Laureano a contract and agreed to a salary of $5.15MM.

Unfortunately, his 2024 season has been abysmal so far. He hit 38.6% of his trips to the plate with Cleveland and was hitting .143/.265/.229 when he was designated for assignment last week and eventually waived.

For Atlanta, there's really no risk in bringing him in. Ever since the guards let him go, they have been holding out for a large portion of his salary. If Atlanta selects him from their roster at any point, they will have to pay him the league minimum salary even if he has a long-term deal, that amount is subtracted from what Cleveland is paying.

Atlanta's outfield depth has been greatly reduced this week with the news Ronald Acuña Jr. has a torn left ACL and will miss the rest of the season. The club still has it Michael Harris II in the middle though Jarred Kelenic again Adam Duvall now daily options in the corners. JP Martinez he was called to replace Acuña in the lineup but he is a quick player off the bench.

Kelenic and Duvall were previously on the team but could step up as everyday players in Acuña's absence. Kelenic swings from the left side and has hit just .188/.252/.307 in his career against southpaws, with Atlanta giving him just seven plate appearances against them so far this year. Duvall is right-handed and better against lefties, but not a perfect liability against righties. He has a career .235/.307/.477 batting line and 105 wRC+ with the benefit of a platoon, with a .230/.285/.468 line and 95 wRC+ without it.

Like Duvall, Laureano is a righty with decent platoon splits. He hit .263/.334/.440 against southpaws with a 116 wRC+ and .232/.311/.414 the other way with a 103 wRC+. Even last year, when he didn't hit well overall, he was able to produce a .270/.333/.460 line and a 121 wRC+ against lefties.

Atlanta will get a closer look at Laureano and see if he can get back on track. He has been in bad form this year but as mentioned, they have nothing to lose by signing this deal and seeing how it goes. If Laureano can return to his old form, maybe that will help them strengthen their midfield or at least keep Kelenic away.

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