Braves To Revisit B.J. Upton Trade Talks, Could Move Gattis In Offseason

Talks of a rumored deal that would have sent B.J. Upton to the Cubs (perhaps along with a pitcher or cash) in exchange for Edwin Jackson have been circulating over the past couple weeks, and David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that it could be because the Braves would like to rekindle those talks in the offseason.

It won’t be easy to trade Upton and the remaining $47MM on his contract, of course, but the Braves could be willing to sweeten the deal by including three years of Mike Minor or by including a significant amount of cash to help offset Upton’s salary. The Braves are not, however, interested in including both Minor and cash in order to facilitate a trade. Regardless of how the ties are severed, O’Brien feels that it is a fait accompli that the elder Upton is dealt by next Spring Training. (Of course, many people felt the same about Dan Uggla, who lingered on Atlanta’s roster well into the summer.)

Minor has struggled for much of the season after opening the year on the disabled list, pitching to a 4.90 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 39.3 percent ground-ball rate. Minor’s main problem has been an increased home run rate which, paired with an uptick in his walks, has led to a HR/9 rate of 1.51 — fifth-worst among pitchers with at least 110 innings thrown in 2014. Nonetheless, three years of a pitcher who posted a 3.72 ERA in 466 2/3 innings from 2011-13 (including a stellar 3.21 mark in 204 2/3 innings last year) would have value to pitching-hungry teams.

Perhaps more interesting is the fact that O’Brien also feels there’s “at least a pretty good chance” that Gattis could be traded in the coming offseason. While Atlanta loves Gattis’ bat, it is less enamored with his defensive prowess and isn’t certain how long his 250-pound frame can hold up at the position. Meanwhile, waiting in the wings is top prospect Christian Bethancourt, who is known for his strong arm and receiving skills.

As O’Brien points out, Gattis would make for a nice trade target for an American League club, given the fact that he could split time between DH and catcher (and perhaps the outfield on occasion). The 28-year-old is hitting a hefty .276/.331/.520 with 20 homers in 353 plate appearances this season, quieting some skeptics (myself included) who felt that his hot start in 2013 may not have been sustainable.

Gattis will finish the season with exactly two years of Major League service, meaning that a club could potentially gain four years of team control over a 20-30 homer bat, and that would certainly have value on the trade market, especially given the dearth of starting-caliber catchers on the free agent market. Beyond Russell Martin, teams looking for catching help will be left looking at A.J. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto in the second tier of free agent backstops.


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101 Comments on "Braves To Revisit B.J. Upton Trade Talks, Could Move Gattis In Offseason"


Brv Rocks
1 year 1 day ago

Ugh, I really think Frank Wren/the Braves really just like having an awful offense. There’s no other reason why they would replace Evan Gattis with Christian Bethancourt. The smart thing would be to start Gattis and either trade Bethancourt or use him as a defensive replacement.

sunshipballoons
1 year 1 day ago

Couldn’t be that they don’t want to have an awful defense?

Brv Rocks
1 year 1 day ago

I will worry about the Braves’ defense when it is one of the worst in baseball like their offense. Gattis’s bat MORE than makes up for any shortcomings with his defense.

DevilBaby
1 year 1 day ago

Exactly. I don’t think he should be going anywhere. They need to keep him.

sunshipballoons
1 year 1 day ago

With Gattis, you have to worry about pitching and defense.

Also, fine, you would make a different decision. The idea clearly isn’t that they want an awful offense. It’s that they value defense over offense at catcher, as most teams do.

Techster64
1 year 21 hours ago

Well, his fielding % as a catcher this year is .993, which is better than league average, .992. He has 4 .passed balls this year. The only area where he could improve his defense is runners caught stealing. His percentage is .22%, which is below average. So, his defense is adequate for a big league catcher with his bat. Watching the Braves’ offense this year struggle…yeah, they need his bat in the lineup. Consider that his profile as a catcher is not unlike a guy named Mike, who did pretty well for several years.

Mike Query
1 year 10 hours ago

Fielding percentage? Are people still really naive enough to think that is in anyway a good judge of defensive ability?

sunshipballoons
1 year 7 hours ago

He’s also ranked as among the worst pitch framers in the league. The Braves management also seems concerned about his ability to call a game and his ability to block the plate (which usually doesn’t show up as a passed ball). If you’re talking about Piazza — that’s an okay comparison (though Piazza was a better hitter). Pitchers, however, liked working with Piazza and he was above-average at framing pitches). And yet, still, he was consistently an awful defensive catcher who cost his team about a win a year vs. a replacement level catcher.

Dwords
1 year 1 day ago

Betancourt will do what Gattis did and more.

Mike Query
1 year 1 day ago

Bethancourt cant hit, so no.

Melvin Mendoza, Jr.
1 year 1 day ago

I think it would be foolish to get rid of him as well. I’m not saying it would have been easy or necessarily even possible to resign McCann, but we didn’t even make an attempt because we were so sold on Gattis as our future at catcher. Then turn around and dump him a year later for a no bat all glove unproven rookie, especially when our offense is this anemic? Pass.

Zach Connell
11 months 3 days ago

Gattis needs to be in left, heyward in center, j upton in right and bethancourt behind the plate. Then somebody needs to remind these guys that homeruns dont win a lot of games if you can’t get on base. 150+ strikeouts a season is unacceptable for anyone, regardless of other numbers.

Alex Villas
1 year 1 day ago

seems like b.j struggled when he started in a national league club. he needs to be an al player

Conquerbeard
1 year 1 day ago

You must not have seen much of him in TB. Granted, maybe not as horrid as he’s been in Atl, but he was no stud in TB, either.

TheRealRyan
1 year 21 hours ago

BJ Upton was a top 10 CF while playing for the Rays. His last 3 seasons in TB, he was top 10 among CF in HR(6th), SB(4th), R(9th), RBI(7th), wRC+(9th) and fWAR(9th). He has been a terrible player since going to the Braves, but he was an above average MLB CF with the Rays before he fell apart.

Mike Query
1 year 1 day ago

Does that really make sense to you?

Danny
1 year 1 day ago

Trading Gattis in favor of Betancourt would be a HUGE step backward. As a Mets fan, I can only hope the Braves are that foolish.

Brandon Thompson
1 year 1 day ago

Would hate to see the Braves trade gattis but it would make a lot of sense to do so, It’ll really do them if they make the BJ Upton trade work somehow someway

Gnotorious
1 year 1 day ago

Considering what Arizona gave for Trumbo, basically Skaggs and Eaton, the Braves should be able to get a good haul for Gattis. He currently has more positional versatility and a better hit tool.

Brandon Thompson
1 year 1 day ago

definitely agreed

jeremy
1 year 1 day ago

my dodgers could use a catcher, just platoon him and AJ since AJ cant hit but he good with the pitchers.

FromDuke2Joc
1 year 1 day ago

Gattis and Ellis are both righties and Ellis isn’t that great defensively either. I think it’s more likely LA goes for Russell Martin and make Ellis Kershaw’s personal catcher/back-up to martin/pitching staff coach. Ellis is 33 and only played 115 games last year and 67 so far this year. Factor in his OPS+ of 60, CS% of 22, and poor pitch framing and I can’t see LA standing pat this off-season at catcher.

citizen
1 year 1 day ago

gattis for joc peterson

FromDuke2Joc
1 year 1 day ago

The Dodgers kept Pederson off the table for Lester and Price so they could hurt their already weak up the middle defense even more. Not going to happen.

Russ Clarke
11 months 20 days ago

Move Gattis to left. Heyward to center. Justin to right. Bethancourt needs to catch. Gattis is not good in left but he is ok. Look at Holliday with Stl

schaddy24
1 year 1 day ago

Why would the Cubs make this trade? Next years outfield will be Coghlan, Alcantara, Soler (assuming they don’t sign someone better than Coghlan). On top of that, they have OF talent in the minors in Almora, McKinney, Schwarber, and possibly Bryant.

If Theo/Jed do anything with Edwin, it should be granting him his release.

DippityDoo
1 year 1 day ago

I ask myself that same question. I know nothing about BJ, he could be a “classy veteran” to help teach the kids and maybe they’d rather have a no hit lump the bench than a no pitch lump in the bullpen? I know it was mentioned that they would seek some veteran leadership this offseason. I also wouldn’t be surprised if it was just media speculation of trying to marry two teams with their own albatross’. And that Jed and Theo have never even entertained this thought.

Melvin Mendoza, Jr.
1 year 1 day ago

He had a monster year in 07 and has been in a free fall ever since. He really has no place on an MLB roster anymore.

Dwords
1 year 1 day ago

He will not stay with Cubs long he probably will end up back in the AL. Until that contract is resolved. NBA teams do it all the time. It’s over for Bj upton unless he catch fire or reconstructed his swing.

Christopher Rioux
1 year 5 hours ago

Or if he gets the right prescription.

dunt
1 year 1 day ago

Rick Hahn should go get Gattis and have him split time between C and DH

Light_tower_power
1 year 1 day ago

Yup…we definitely need to look at Gattis

Gnotorious
1 year 1 day ago

Who would you trade for him? There is no one on your farm that the braves would need. After Rondon (who couldn’t be traded) and Anderson (who the braves don’t need) your farm is pretty thin. There is no real match for Ramirez. Eaton would be nice but is injury prone and other than Sale, no one in your rotation would really be an upgrade over what they have.

Jeff1969
1 year 1 day ago

You must not know the W.Sox farm system/org. very well. It’s not great but it is improving. Anyway, Jose Quintana would most likely interest the Braves I think. I could see a deal where Gattis & Minor come to the Sox for Quintana, Matt Davidson, and Marcus Semien. Davidson & Semien both have struggled a bit this year, but are still very good prospects, and Quintana off the Sox could be a 15-18 game winner for years. Truthfully, as a Sox fan, Gattis represents more of the same, the same type of plodding power hitting positionless player they seem to love so much. He’s the guy Rick Hahn was talking about at the trade deadline I bet. I hope the Sox stay away.

breckdog
1 year 1 day ago

Minors issue stems from the fact that he is a two pitch pitcher on most nights. He is unable to control his slider enough to throw it for strikes. This leads hitters to lay off it. They only need to gear up for a fastball or change. It is a rare game when he throws enough strikes with his slider to get a hitter to chase. When that happens he is dangerous, but that is maybe one out of three or four starts for him.

Rob Black
1 year 1 day ago

ok, rate this trade proposal: Minor, BJ, and Gattis for the Rangers Choo and Beltre.

bigbadjohnny
1 year 1 day ago

Rangers fans will say “No”…..

Melvin Mendoza, Jr.
1 year 1 day ago

Rangers would break their phone hanging it up so hard

Dwords
1 year 1 day ago

Beltran is getting up there in age. The Braves need a good prospect for the Future a Center Fielder to play with jup and Heyward.

Charlie Burns
1 year 1 day ago

How about Profar if you include Heyward instead of BJ?

LayerCake
1 year 7 hours ago

Lol what? So the Braves create another issue? Who plays right now? Not profar… and the Braves are still stuck with BJ Upton… the whole point of the trade in the first place

CT
1 year 1 day ago

Braves can’t and won’t assume the Choo contract. If Gattis is traded, it’s got to be for young mlb ready talent that’s cost controlled.

$3513744
1 year 1 day ago

trout. think about it.

SFGiantsfan_10
1 year 21 hours ago

Uh, no. I’m sure hoping that was sarcasm.
Besides, Trout isn’t as cheap since he signed that extension.

Chris VanDyke
1 year 1 day ago

Braves fans might not say no, but management definitely would. No way the Braves can afford to pay Choo and Beltre, and with no DH in the NL they can’t afford to have Chris Johnson sitting on the bench behind Beltre. Finances come nowhere close to lining up.

Melvin Mendoza, Jr.
1 year 1 day ago

I could see CJ’s future in left field. His defense at 3rd has always been shoddy.

Mike Query
1 year 1 day ago

He would be worse than Gattis in left field.

Christopher Rioux
1 year 5 hours ago

I’ve, admittedly, never watched Johnson play LF. But how can this be possible?

Mike Query
1 year 4 hours ago

Gerald Laird beat Chris Johnson in a foot race that they bet on last year, that is how haha.

Russ Clarke
11 months 20 days ago

CJ in left field? That’s a power position. He does not produce enough to play third or left field. Corner infield and outfield positions need to be power hitters that knock in runs. CJ deal was a bad idea.

Matt Talbert
11 months 22 days ago

Beltre is getting old and Choo’s contract is pretty bleh too.

1 year 1 day ago

Does Wren’s plans include trying to trick teams into thinking they’re getting Justin instead? If not, then it’s a waste of time.

disadvantage
1 year 1 day ago

No wonder the Cubs were excited about the prospect of trading Edwin Jackson for Upton + cash.

1 year 1 day ago

Gattis would likely do better in the AL, where he could regularly DH. Bethancourt is clearly the preferred catcher option going forward, he has a chance at being the next defensive wizard behind the plate.

A radical idea is moving Heyward to centerfield and letting Gattis play one of the outfield corners next year.

Melvin Mendoza, Jr.
1 year 1 day ago

It’d be a crime to have Heyward in center, but yeah I would like to see how Gattis could do in an OF corner spot with a training camp of practice at the position under his belt. He was horrible when they just threw him in there because of the McCann/Freeman log jam at C/1B.

Mike Query
1 year 1 day ago

He’s horribly because hes a stocky catcher. Hes too big and slow to play outfield.

1 year 1 day ago

Radical because no one really thinks Gattis can cut it as an everyday OF.

Melvin Mendoza, Jr.
1 year 22 hours ago

It takes less athleticism/arm strength/pretty much everything than you think to be an average left fielder. Remember how Braun looked like he didn’t have a clue what was going on at third and then they moved him to left and he turned into a good defender? I think with some conditioning and training Gattis wouldn’t be a total train wreck out there, at least. I think it’s worth at least an offseason experiment if the opportunity arises.

Christopher Rioux
1 year 5 hours ago

You just really compared a two-time 30-30 guy with Evan Gattis in terms of the athletic ability required to switch positions to LF?

Interesting choice.

Melvin Mendoza, Jr.
1 year 4 hours ago

My point was, LF is widely regarded as the least valuable position defensively. Which is how a player like Braun went from a sub .900 fielding year at third to putting up gold glove-type numbers in left. It is just an example.

Jack Miller
11 months 30 days ago

A two time 30-30 guy on peds

Christopher Rioux
11 months 29 days ago

That matters for our purposes… how?

Jack Miller
11 months 28 days ago

Because his stats are inflated a much better infield to left transition would be Alex Gordon.

Christopher Rioux
11 months 28 days ago

Again with the comparisons to people that are actually athletic. Whether those athletic abilities were the result of PEDs is irrelevant, unless you’re suggesting that Gattis will be taking PEDs in order to help him turn into the athlete that Ryan Braun is.

You’re just messing with me, now, right?

Obviously, you can hide a bat in LF. But can we please stop comparing Evan Gattis to guys that can cover ground?

If we’re going to say “well, player A was a horrible fielder at his original position and he successfully made the switch to LF and subsequently became a good defender”, let’s pick a player that Gattis might actually be comparable to.

Right now, the comp is akin to saying that Ron Brown was an Olympian and became an NFL WR, so Michelle Kwan should be able to do the same thing.

Yes, LF is really simple to play. If you can move your feet. Braun can. Gordon can. Gattis… is not that guy.

Can he do it? Maybe. Probably not all that well. But maybe. But not like those other guys mentioned…

Mike Query
1 year 1 day ago

By radical do you mean exactly what they did at the end of last year?

jb226
1 year 1 day ago

Minor is an interesting pot-sweetener to the proposed deal, but I’m still not sure it gets it done. The Cubs have guys who can probably turn in similar or better performances in Hendricks, Wada, Wood and Turner, and they would still be taking on around $40MM of extra salary commitment from the swap. That kind of money for a back-end starter the caliber of which they already have several times over, I can’t imagine that gets it done.

oh Hal
1 year 1 day ago

I don’t think “probably” is the right word. Turner could be nothing and Wada isn’t going to magically be a star despite the hot start. Wood is trending down as well.

DippityDoo
1 year 1 day ago

Wada has been hurt since coming to the ML, he put up these numbers in AAA and after a rough MLB debut he has settled back into being the pitcher he was in Japan. A solid control pitcher who mixes speed and location effectively. Will he be a star? Don’t care, but he can be a productive member for the Cubs rotation next year.

oh Hal
1 year 11 hours ago

Sure, but I wouldn’t use the word probably for that either.

Christopher Rioux
1 year 5 hours ago

OK, let’s try this one.

Mike Minor’s incremental value added over Turner/Wada/Wood/Hendricks, if any, is probably not going to be worth the additional $15.5 million per year the Cubs would have to pay BJ Upton to be a below-replacement-value player who should really take up windsurfing or lacrosse because he’s not a baseball player anymore.

I think the word probably fits pretty well into that sentence.

oh Hal
11 months 30 days ago

Well, you need 7 or 8 or more starters in a season. But that sounds better than Wada “probably” being a productive member of the rotation.

Gnotorious
1 year 1 day ago

Trade that I see for Gattis in the AL are Boston (use him behind the plate till Papi retires, then move him to DH), Yankees, Toranto (maybe packaged with BJ), and Clevland (Frazier back to GA?). Not sure if there would be a lot of interest in the NL for him but maybe Pitt would bite.

Ted
1 year 1 day ago

Toronto has zero use for BJ Upton and cannot afford him anyway. They’ve got Anthony Gose struggling to get playing time already, and he’s basically a dirt cheap BJ Upton at the moment, but with youth and potential on his side.

depley
1 year 1 day ago

need to remember this is only Gattis’ first full year at ML catcher. Bethancourt did not impress me when he was up, his framing of pitches was terrible. Bethancourt should bring a decent haul if they trade him instead of Gattis, which is exactly what I would do.

inkstainedscribe
1 year 1 day ago

Why not package BJ and Gattis together? Terrible contract + great contract might return some value.

Colin Christopher
1 year 1 day ago

Dayton Moore, go get Mike Minor and Evan Gattis. The Royals are going to lose James Shields. Kauffman Stadium and a great defense are the cures for what ails Minor, and Gattis’s bat at DH (with occasional starts in the OF and backing up Perez at catcher) brings the power that KC needs. Just make sure Gattis is never catching when Greg Holland pitches.

J.R.
1 year 1 day ago

This would be an awful move. Bethancourt is better defensively, but he currently projects to be a handicap with his bat. He has a .680 OPS in AAA and doesn’t get on base much either. It’s alarming that he’s never really hit well at any minor league level.

Until Bethancourt shows he can hit at a major league level, I would prefer not to see us take a 30+ HR potential bat out of our lineup. If the Braves plan on competing next season, they will definitely need Gattis.

$114759666
1 year 22 hours ago

Wonder if the Tigers would kick the tires on Upton in a hopeful change of scenery type move? CF has been kind of shaky for them since dealing Jackson, and he might benefit from having less pressure on him in the Detroit lineup than he has in Atlanta.

Richard Anderson
1 year 20 hours ago

Why would Atlanta want Edwin Jackson for anything? Even bj Upton got great hits off him. And trade minor after he almost pitched a no hitter for a pitcher that gives up six runs an inning. Is this some kind of joke? And why can’t we put bj on the bench and gattis in ourfield with Bettencourt behind plate?

BacborisTheOriginal
1 year 7 hours ago

If it makes you feel better, Cubs fans are no less eager.

Id much rather have E. Jackson as the swingman/mop-up long relief than BJ Upton on the bench. Hell, im not even sure if I’d want him on a minor league contract.

Ronnie
1 year 18 hours ago

I love Gattis but will have to go as the Braves have many needs and little financial flexibility. I also see Heyward as a possibility to be traded too. The current roster has to be changed if the Braves want to keep up with the Nat’s and the relevant Marlins next season. The roster I expect will look something like this:

1. Peraza 2nd
2. New. CF
3. Freeman 1st
4. J. Upton RF
5. New LF
6. C. Johnson 3rd
7. Bethancourt C
8. Simmons SS

Bench: La Stella, Bonafacio, Yenier Bello, 2 new players

Rotation: Teheran, Woods, Hale, Martin, New pitcher.

Bullpen: Kimbrel, Walden, Venters, Jaime, Buchter, S. Simmons, Varvaro.

bhambravesfan
1 year 10 hours ago

Peraza has 42 games in AA, Simmons hit .293/.372/.420 in AA. So
expecting him to step in at the MLB level at leadoff is quite
optimistic. Rasmus, and Melky are the only LF/CF available. Melky has
zero chance at a return. A #2 and #5 hitter are hard to come by.
Bonifacio is a free agent, Bello is nowhere close to MLB ready, and two
new players… No way the Braves go into next year with Hale and Martin
as the #3 & 4 starter. Venters will almost certainly be let go. He
has been shut down for the year. If the team looks like you described,
they won’t be contending with the Mets.