The destruction of the Atlanta Braves as we knew them in 2014 continued Wednesday, as they traded slugger Evan Gattis to the Houston Astros in exchange for three prospects, two of whom ranked among Houston’s top 10.
The deal was first reported as done by David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, with Joel Sherman of the New York Post first to report the haul of prospects going back to the Astros. That’s Mike Foltynewicz, Rio Ruiz and Andrew Thurman. Foltynewicz, a right-handed pitcher, ranks No. 3 in the Astros farm system, per Baseball America, and Ruiz, a third baseman, is No. 8.
Foltynewicz, specifically, has an electric arm. However, he wasn’t stellar in 2014, with a 5.08 ERA in Triple-A and a 5.30 ERA with the Astros in 16 relief appearances.Gattis’ right-handed bat is exciting — he walloped 43 homers the past two seasons — and should play well with Minute Maid Park’s short porch in left field. But the deal left some analysts thinking the Astros gave up too much.
Still, Gattis’ bat added to the Astros lineup should be potent. They already have Chris Carter, who hit 37 homers a year ago and George Springer, who hit 20 in 78 games. The Astros will continue to worry about strikeouts. They had the second highest strikeout total in the league last year, and adding Gattis doesn’t figure to help.
While he was a catcher last year in Atlanta, Gattis but is probably best suited elsewhere defensively. He figures to play left field (Atlanta was likely to move him there too), and occasionally DH, though Carter is No. 1 on the depth chart there. Gattis, 28, comes with four seasons of team control for the Astros, certainly a factor that helped them give up three prospects.
The Braves, meanwhile, have now traded Gattis, Jason Heyward and Justin Upton this offseason. That’s three of their four most valuable players, according to Fangraphs’ WAR calculation. It’s also just more than half of their 123 team homers from 2014 — as Gattis, Heyward and Upton hit 62 homers combined.
The move continues to push the narrative that the Braves are rebuilding now and hoping to put a winner on the field when their new stadium opens in 2017.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – – –