Inciarte, 25, went to Atlanta as a key part of the sizable package sent by the D’Backs in exchange for Shelby Miller. He’s emerged as a sneakily valuable player over the last two seasons, delivering outstanding glovework with a solid bat at a bargain price. If he can keep churning out top-notch defensive metrics and repeat his strong .303/.338/.408 slash from last year, Inciarte would profile as a first-division regular.
Of course, Atlanta surely won’t part with Inciarte for anything less than a compelling price. The organization would have ample cause to keep him as a piece of their rebuilding plan, though obviously the same could have been said of some now-former Braves players — Andrelton Simmons, in particular. High-upside players at or near the majors would presumably top the Braves’ wish list, though the Astros have already shipped out quite a few of those in other recent swaps.
It’s not immediately obvious what Houston could have in mind with Inciarte. The team already has a high-upside veteran in center in Carlos Gomez, though he fell short of expectations after being acquired last summer, along with a cheap and speedy backup in Jake Marisnick. And the club seems set in the corners with George Springer and Colby Rasmus — both of whom are also capable of playing center.
It is intriguing to consider the possibilities, though, if the interest is serious. Crasnick says that he’d expect Houston would need to deal away Gomez if it were to cut a deal for Inciarte. That’s certainly one plausible scenario, though they’d be selling low — and in a potentially weak market — after giving up a major haul to get him just months ago. While we’re on hypotheticals, it’s conceptually possible that the team could dangle Springer for an elite young pitcher. We’ve heard suggestions before that the organization isn’t completely unwilling to consider such a scenario, and teams such as the Indians and Rays could theoretically match up. But that’s all pure speculation at this point, of course.