View Full Version : Braves sign Castilla; Chipper to left

12-08-2001, 02:15 PM
Braves' infield and outfield will have new look
By Len Pasquarelli
ATLANTA -- Completing a busy and productive week, one that included the retention of closer John Smoltz and catcher Javy Lopez, ESPN.com has confirmed the Atlanta Braves have reached a contract agreement with free agent third baseman Vinny Castilla.

Team sources confirmed that Castilla will sign a two-year contract, but the deal has not yet been announced. They declined to discuss the financial parameters of the contract.

The addition of Castilla, a two-time All Star performer who split the 2001 season between the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Houston Astros, means that third baseman Chipper Jones will move to left field. Jones had indicated to general manager John Schuerholz earlier in the offseason that he would be open to such a switch if it would permit the Braves to add a third baseman who could bolster the team's offense.

Atlanta re-signed Smoltz, who will move full-time into the closer's role in 2002, last Sunday to a three-year, $30 million contract. On Friday, in a somewhat surprising transaction, the club kept Lopez with a one-year, $6 million deal that includes a player option for the '03 campaign.

The team also signed center fielder Andruw Jones to a contract extension last month.

In a press conference earlier this week to formally announced the Smoltz signing, Schuerholz said he would quickly turn his attention to correcting the Braves' offensive woes, and the acquisition of Castilla is a step in that direction.

Castilla was released by the Devil Rays last season after just 24 games, and with a batting average of .201. The former Colorado Rockies star then signed with Houston and, in 146 games, hit .260 with 25 home runs and 91 RBI.

duke of dorwood
12-08-2001, 05:27 PM

It's an easy switch, Chipper.