Braddock (and Ishikawa) to Orioles
Zach Braddock is back in baseball.
When I last wrote about Braddock in May I referred to him as “talented but troubled,” and the Orioles could be getting a steal in the now-25-year-old left-hander, who signed a Minor League deal with Baltimore on Wednesday and will be in that club’s big league camp.
Braddock has a power arm but dealt with a series of off-the-field issues during his time with the Brewers, including a sleep disorder. The team demoted him to Triple-A Nashville in 2011 for disciplinary reasons after he reported late to the ballpark, and in May 2012 the Brewers released Braddock outright, deciding a change of scenery was best for the team and for the player’s well being.
“He’s got a good arm,” GM Doug Melvin said then. “Someone might claim him [on waivers]. They might not. Sometimes it gets to a point where you decide, ‘Is he going to be a part of your ballclub?’ We didn’t think he would be a part of our ballclub for the present or the foreseeable future. We didn’t see that happening. When you make decisions on players, that’s what you look at.”
Most of Braddock’s former teammates were not sure what happened to him after that, and Braddock’s agent, Jeff Berry, declined requests for information about Braddock’s future intentions.
On Wednesday, we got an answer when the Orioles announced Braddock among three non-roster invitees. Hopefully, he makes their club and makes the most of his outstanding arm.
Another name on that list was first baseman Travis Ishikawa, who mostly came off the Brewers’ bench in 2012 and batted .257 in 94 games. The Brewers opted to let Ishikawa walk early in the offseason rather than take him into the arbitration process. Right now, Mat Gamel and Taylor Green look like the leading candidates to fill the role of lefty bench bat.
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