After months of rumblings, the Braves finally found a deal they liked for catcher/outfielder Evan Gattis. The veteran is now the newest member of the Astros, who now appear determined to make an impact in 2015.
Gattis, a Dallas-area native, sheepishly admitted to reporters today that he grew up as a fan of the Rangers, and not his current ball club. Interestingly, before Gattis was sent to Houston for a trio of prospects, he was picking up trade interest from other clubs, including the nearby Rangers. I asked the 28-year-old if the Braves or his agent gave him a sense of how close he was to being traded to his favorite childhood team.
“All I’ve heard along the way is about as much as you’ve heard… or, maybe less than you’ve heard,” Gattis said on today’s conference call.
Gattis was certainly aware of the trade rumors surrounding him, and inquiring family members amplified things by asking him about the Rangers on a constant basis. Still, the veteran believed that he would still be in Atlanta come April.
“I didn’t think I was going to get traded, believe it or not. I think with four more years under club control, I think that was kind of big [for the Braves], so that kind of surprised me until I found out about the deal,” Gattis explained. “Even though I heard all the rumors, I figured if something was going to happen, it would have gotten done a lot earlier. That’s what I kind of chalked it up to, just being a lot of rumors. It didn’t really sink in until it happened yesterday.”
Now, Gattis has gone from a clear rebuild in Atlanta to Houston, where the timeline to contend has been advanced considerably. While heaping praise on the way the Braves organization treated him over the years, he spoke glowingly of what awaits him with the Astros.
“We are on the rise. They’re trying to push this team and get guys in the direction of winning. We won 19 more games last year and more games than in however many years, so I think the potential is there. The difference is so small between a really good team and a .500 team over the course of 162 games, it’s small situations and little stuff. It’s all about how you can carry it out and put it together.”
“We have a bunch of young guys who are eager to compete and win jobs, I think it’s a good environment here in Houston.”