As the Atlanta Braves look to finalize their 25-man roster in the coming months, one name hasn't been mentioned in the rumor mill but would be a perfect fit for the Braves' bench. That player is Brent Lillibridge.
Lillibridge is a utility player for the Chicago White Sox. He can play every outfield position as well as second base, third base, and shortstop. While he's no Ozzie Smith or Andruw Jones in the field, he is very solid defensively. He also provides a good bat off the bench, as he hit .258 with a .340 OBP and 13 home runs in 186 at-bats last season. Lastly, he has shown he is a threat on the bases as he recorded ten steals in 2011.
Lillibridge actually played for the Braves in 2008. He was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates along with Mike Gonzalez for Adam LaRoche and Jamie Romak in 2007. He began his Braves career in Triple-A Richmond and was promoted to the big league club in 2008. After the 2008 season, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox as part of the package that put Javier Vazquez in a Braves uniform.
Lillibridge is still just 28 years old and is controlled for several more years at a very affordable salary. The White Sox may be hesitant to give him up for these very reasons. With the White Sox seemingly trying to shed salary with their recent trades of Carlos Quentin and Jason Frasor, they will likely value a young controllable asset like Lillibridge.
The White Sox would be crazy not to ask for Mike Minor, Randall Delgado, or another of the Braves' young pitchers. It's highly improbable the Braves trade any of the big four pitching prospects (Minor, Delgado, Arodys Vizcaino, and Julio Teheran) for a bench player. Would the White Sox take a lesser package of prospects? Unfortunately, there is no way to determine that at this point. However, one thing is certain. When a player like Lillibridge is the ultimate utility player and fills a variety of needs, it is a safe assumption that general manager Frank Wren has called about him.Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Brent Lillibridge, Mike Minor, MLB, Randall Delgado