The Atlanta Braves Evan Gattis has come on the scene and made a big splash in his rookie season. Gattis already has 10 home runs (2nd on the team and tied for 4th in the NL) in just 121 plate appearances and is second on the Braves with 27 runs-batted-in, only one behind team leader, Justin Upton.
Gattis was dynamic in the just completed six game home stand as he blasted three home runs. They included a grand slam, a two-out ninth inning solo home run that tied the game, and an eighth inning two-run shot that converted a one run deficit into a lead.
So why would the Braves consider trading Evan Gattis? Gattis plays catcher, left field and first base. The Braves already have Brian McCann, Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman to play those positions. So Gattis is a very nice spare part to have hanging around right now, but not a necessity.
Although the Braves currently lead the NL East, and are tracking toward an almost certain playoff appearance, there are still holes on the roster. The Braves don’t have a true number one starter, and they’ve lost their top two left-handed relievers out of the bullpen for the season, Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty.
In other words, the Braves are built to win a lot of regular season games, but to advance deep into the playoffs they will need pitching help.
McCann’s deal expires at the end of the season, and he will become a free agent if not resigned. The Braves don’t want to trade Gattis and then lose McCann, that we can be reasonably assured. But from what we are hearing, there is a good chance that the Braves want to keep McCann, and will find the money. It helps their cause that McCann is a hometown guy, and would prefer to stay in Atlanta.
Along with Gattis, other assets the Braves could offer are outfielder Jordan Schafer, starter Paul Maholm, third baseman Chris Johnson, third baseman Juan Francisco and catcher Gerald Laird. The Braves also have some players in the minors that would interest prospective trade partners.
The problem with trading a guy like Gattis is figuring out what he is worth. There’s not really anything to compare him with in recent memory. In reality, he’s probably worth what anyone is willing to pay. That most likely is not a number one starter even up, not close. But could Gattis be the wild card, a deal sweetener in a multi-player deal?