Aiming to build their roster with more versatile options, the Atlanta Braves parted ways with veterans Michael Bourn and Emilio Bonifacio. Both players were designated for assignment. The Braves selected the contracts of outfielder Drew Stubbs and reliever Alexi Ogando.
The Braves have absorbed an abundance of salary this week, essentially eating $1.25 owed to Bonifacio, $14 million due to Bourn and $15 million on the books for Nick Swisher, who was designated for assignment last Monday.
Atlanta’s payroll received some comfort by receiving $15 million from Cleveland when they swapped third baseman Chris Johnson to the Indians for Bourn and Swisher last August. That allows some financial flexibility for 2017.
Bonifacio, who signed a guarantee one-year, $1.25 million contract last December, was cut in favor of Jeff Francouur, who offers a backup outfield option with right-handed power.
The Braves believe that top prospect Mallex Smith could be Major League ready at some point this season. Until then, Stubbs and Ender Inciarte will spend time in center field. Nick Markakis is the starting right fielder while Hector Olivera is in left field.
Bourn could be an option for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who lost center fielder A.J. Pollock to a broken elbow on Friday night.