Apr 10, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis (24) connects for a three run homer in the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Braves Face Tough Choices With Evan Gattis

As we went into the last night’s game with the Marlins, Evan Gattis has settled into the four hole and has a slash of .368/.400/.737/1.137 leading all National League rookies. And that my friends poses a problem for Frank Wren, Fredi Gonzalez and crew.

A Good Problem

So Gattis is smoking hot, what’s the problem? The problem is Brian McCann is due back next week by the KC series and with the 25 man roster full someone has to go. But who? The uniformed amongst fandom want to send Gerald Laird down but of course that can’t be done. In fact the whole bench is in a similar situation; none save Gattis have options left, all except Gattis would have to clear waivers and none of them will. (For a quick look at how options work click here.) That leaves a trade

First of all the obvious should be said, Brian McCann won’t be traded unless we get an offer we can’t refuse. Some forget what a potent bat he has when he isn’t hurt which he has been since Augusts of 2011. Onward to the bench…  Ramiro Pena would be in demand by the Cardinals and Dodgers to name just two.   Reed Johnson’s a free agent signing and like Laird can’t be traded without their permission until after June first. Even if they agree to a trade the Braves would have to ask MLB for permission to do it before June 1.  Jordan Schafer could be in demand by teams like the Mets, Marlins, Phillies;  even the Rays might find room for him.  So, who goes?

If It Were I. . .

Which it isn’t of course, Schafer would be the trade bait. he’s had a good game tonight – 4-5 with two runs scored including a bunt single and double that would have been a homer in most ballparks.  I’d want him out of the division of course and I wouldn’t be that picky about who I got back as long as he had options. That’s me, there’s a poll here so you can vote on it.

Who should go when McCann returns

  • Gerald Laird (35%, 64 Votes)
  • Jordan Schafer (29%, 54 Votes)
  • Send Gattis down until a trade can be made (19%, 35 Votes)
  • Reed Johnson (11%, 21 Votes)
  • Ramiro Pena (6%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 185

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 That’s a Wrap

As I was writing this Gattis (2-4 3 RBI) was hitting his second homer in two days into the Clevelander night club. That was followed just a git later by a 459 foot bomb by Juan Francisco (3-4 3 RBI).  Schafer laid down a lovely drag bunt to get on in front of Gattis and later doubled, a ball that probably a homer in most ballparks.  So the Atlanta Bomb Squad (those option on the Fox Sports site are just awful) continues to deliver even when Justin Upton takes a night off from losing baseballs.     Tuesday night Pena made two defensive plays at third that made everyone’s eyes water after playing a pretty good shortstop while Andrelton Simmons was out. He’s also had some key RBI hits late in games. Laird is the vet you keep around because he can teach and play regularly for a couple of weeks if needed. Reed Johnson has a couple of good at bats and is very good off the bench though not a home run threat.  I have no idea what the answer will be but whatever it is someone’s gotta go.

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  • Jeff Schafer

    The only reason I voted to send Gattis down when McCann returns would be for him to continue getting at-bats. If he goes down to Triple-A and keeps smashing the ball he could be the starting catcher next season with proven experience in the majors and confidence coming off a great year in Triple-A.

    If he stays up to be the backup C, 1B and outfield i don’t see him getting many at-bats unless another injury occurs. To have that bat on the bench and to maybe get 1 at-bat a game and possibly a start at C during a week, i think would be worthless.

    • fireboss

      I don;t disagree I wonder if they have the cajones to send a guy with this slash down. . ..391

  • http://gplus.to/Tarkus Tarkus

    Why would you worry about getting Schafer out of the division? He’s not very good.

    • fireboss

      Because players like him always come back to gite you in the end. If the Mets had claimed him from Houston I wouldn’t have thought about it and I don’t think he’s a superstar but I’d be happier if he was a White Sox

  • http://www.facebook.com/dustin.bowen.10 Dustin Bowen

    “The uninformed” would rather have laird sent down over gattis? F**k that noise! Ive been a baseball player and fanatic for 20 years and I can almost certainly see wasted potential embedded in that mindset. Gattis has been superb defensively and has had overwhelmingly positive reviews from the entire team…especially from the starters. That speaks to his ability more than your opinion concerning age and lack of experience at this point in the season. Dont forget that the catchers ability and skill set largely determines the outcome of each game. Judging by atlantas current pitching dominance, id say he needs to be our starter until proven unworthy. Dont even make me begin on his offensive superiority to laird and mccann (in his current condition). If the management sends him down the team wont collapse but they will almost definitely be missing an extremely valuable component of the team.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dustin.bowen.10 Dustin Bowen

      We dont need three catchers. Pena and schafer have been excellent and fill their roles nicely. Send laird down and keep gattis and mccann on deck. Done deal.

      • fireboss

        You miss the point, I’m not questioning anyone’s knowledge of playing or judgement of who is the better player. Those I’ve spoken to on Twitter are unaware of the rules governing a veteran major league player. Laird is long out of options and on a major league contract. Because of that certain rules apply, the first of those is that he cannot be sent down without his permission except for injury rehab. He likely wouldn’t do that. The only other option is to DFA him. Once DFA he has to pass through waivers and while he would likely clear waivers unless another team really really wanted him because he will refuse assignment, be released and become a free agent that we would pay $1.5M for two years as the team picking him up has only to pay the major league minimum.
        The Braves will want be sure McCann is back full time and have protection against another injury or Gattis himself gets injured.They chose Laird as that protection over two career minor leaguers in the system.

        With McCann almost certain to leave the Braves will want to keep Laird through next year to help Gattis grow in the job and tutor the young pitchers. Teheran has said that Laird specifically was the reason his spring training went so well.
        It is true that backup catchers can be found but Laird’s close to the top choice for that job even though he had a bad first game. He went to the WS the last two seasons with the Cards and Tigers and was the Tigers starter for a long period when Avila was hurt.
        I’m not in love with Laird and the Braves might try to trade him but without league and player permission he can’t be traded after until 1 June.
        As I thought I made clear I don’t care much who goes. I’m just pointing out the choices that exist and the rules governing them.