HomeTrending MLB NewsBraves release injured sidearm reliever

Braves release injured sidearm reliever

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The Braves have released right-hander Penn Murfee, reports Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The move clears a spot on Atlanta’s 40-man roster. Murfee was claimed off waivers back in November, non-tendered a few days later, and then re-signed to a major league contract just weeks after that. The sidearming righty posted excellent numbers with the Mariners in 2022-23 but underwent a season-ending UCL procedure late last June and figures to miss considerable time in 2024 as a result.

Injured players can’t be placed on outright waivers, though the Braves could’ve placed him on the major league 60-day injured list if they wanted to open a 40-man roster spot and keep Murfee as a possible down-the-road option in 2024. It’s possible Atlanta will look to quickly re-sign Murfee to a minor league deal so he can continue his rehab process with them, but today’s move ensures that he’ll have the opportunity to at least speak with the game’s other 29 clubs and see if he feels there’s a better opportunity elsewhere.

The 29-year-old Murfee made his big league debut with the 2022 Mariners and came out of nowhere as a quality middle-innings option. The former 33rd-round pick had never been a particularly prominent prospect within Seattle’s system and posted fairly nondescript numbers up through 2021 in the minors. His MLB debut campaign featured 69 innings of 2.99 ERA ball, however, and Murfee fanned an impressive 27.9 percent of his opponents against a very sharp 6.6 percent walk rate.

Murfee looked like the next in a long line of high-end Mariners relievers to emerge from obscurity. He opened the 2023 season with 14 innings of 1.29 ERA ball, albeit with a massive uptick in walks (17.2 percent). His already below-average fastball velocity dipped to an average of 88.1 mph, and Murfee twice landed on the injured list due to elbow inflammation in the season’s first couple months. By June 27, he’d been diagnosed with enough UCL damage that surgery was recommended.

It’s not clear just when Murfee will be cleared to return the mound. He unsurprisingly hasn’t pitched in a spring game while working through the rehab process. A return at some point late in the 2024 season seems feasible, provided he’s able to avoid any setbacks. The right-hander has 1.169 years of MLB service, meaning he can be controlled at least five more seasons, and he also has all three minor league option years remaining.

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