Who? Spurling’s a big righthander who doesn’t throw particularly hard, was taken by the Braves in the Rule 5 draft out of the Pirates organization. Yes, the Braves are taking minor leaguers that the Pirates don’t even care enough about to put on the 40-man roster and putting them in the major league bullpen. It’s better to just not think about it.
Spurling had a strong year at Altoona last year, posting a 2.19 ERA with 60 strikeouts/12 walks in 70 innings. However, he was repeating the level and hadn’t been that effective before. Moreover, he’s a minor league reliever and while they don’t exactly grow on trees, they aren’t rare. It’s a very odd decision for the Braves to have made, but I guess they saw something they liked. Spurling will probably be in the Braves’ pen all season unless he comes down with an “injury” and goes on the DL. The Braves can’t demote him to Richmond without offering him back to the Pirates for the waiver price. Unless he’s great in spring training, keeping him around almost guarantees the dreaded seven-man bullpen.