Ender Inciarte has been a member of the Braves for less than three weeks and teams are already trying to pry him away. Since acquiring the outfielder, Braves GM John Coppolella says that he has been contacted by more teams with interest in Inciarte than there were with Shelby Miller (Twitter links via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports). The GM says that like Miller, the Braves are not necessarily looking to move Inciarte. Of course, the Braves wound up trading Miller when they got a sizable offer from the D’Backs.
Ultimately, Coppolella says that he is open to dealing “any player not named Freddie Freeman” if the price is right. It has been reported that the Braves’ plan is to keep Inciarte in the organization and use him as a leadoff hitter and center fielder for the foreseeable future. Still, if there are more teams in on Inciarte than there were on Miller, than it stands to reason that Atlanta could get a package strong enough to part with him. It was reported in late November that “as many as 20 teams” checked in on the right-hander.
Inciarte, 25, was largely unheralded as a prospect but has batted a combined .292/.329/.386 in his first two Major League seasons, including a stellar .303/.338/.408 line in 2015. Inciarte is an elite defender at any of the three outfield spots; he’s amassed 52 Defensive Runs Saved in just 1972 innings at the Major League level or, if you prefer, +33.7 runs, per Ultimate Zone Rating.
While he lacks much in the way of power and may see his surface-level rate stats decline by moving away from the hitters’ haven that is Phoenix’s Chase Field, Inciarte is expected to help the Braves’ chances both in 2016 and into the next planned phase of the team’s status as contenders. Of course, with five years of club control to go, there are tons of clubs who would like to add Inciarte to the fold as well.