June 10, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis (24) prior to the game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Evan Gattis or Brian McCann: A Tough Decision

Evan Gattis has been at the center of sporting headlines and twitter jokes since he made his Major League debut this season. When the Atlanta Braves are talked about, his name is usually among the first that are mentioned.

However, with his rise to stardom, many Brave fans believe that he should be made the full time starter behind the plate and ship Brian McCann out while he has decent trade value. Are we as Braves fans really ready to send McCann out to keep a 26 year old rookie that has yet to show he can sustain a full season behind the plate?

Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann is a great defender and swings a hot bat, but Braves fans have been wanting to ship him out.. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

McCann has been an all star from 2006-2011 and won the Silver Slugger award in all of those years except for 2007. This year, McCann’s slash line (.250/.349/.463) is very similar to Gattis’ (.252/.317/.577). Also, by getting rid of McCann, you lose a guy that caught guys like John Smoltz and one of the few members of the team that was around the last time the Braves won the division title. Simply put, the Braves would be losing a classy guy, an awesome leader, a plus defender, and an all star caliber hitter.

On the other hand, the Braves could replace McCann with the man they call “El Oso Blanco” (Evan Gattis). Gattis has really performed well in all phases of the game since the beginning of the season. As a Brave, he has played catcher, leftfield, and a few games at first base. He patrols the outfield in his own awkward way, but has gotten the job done in his time out there. He has also proven that he can be an above average hitter and has actually went 6-8 with four home runs as a pinch hitter and a .577 slugging percentage. Gattis can flat out hit and can contribute well for the team while making his spot starts behind McCann and in the outfield, but there is no doubt he is having a great learning experience this season. In time, there is no doubt he should be the starting catcher sometime in the near future for the Braves.

As the legend of Evan Gattis grows, the fate of Brian McCann seems to slide out of a Braves uniform. I’m not ready to give Gattis the starting job over the six time all star in Brian McCann. He is only three years older than Gattis and offers much more leadership and game experience, and those things are very important when it comes to two players that have similar stats. Unless the Braves get an offer they simply can’t refuse, I expect to see McCann stick around at least until the end of this 2013 season.

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  • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

    First off: I think he’s in Atlanta for the rest of the year, and then the Braves make him a Qualifying Offer to earn an extra draft pick in 2014. I’m about 90% sure that’s the path we’re on. However….

    Brian has been getting advice to go to the American League, but I’m going to suggest another possible career track that he should probably consider… if he likes his life living in Atlanta and wants to stay.

    Propose to Frank Wren a long-term deal something along these lines:

    Year 1 (2014: Age 30)… $14m
    Year 2 (2015: Age 31)… $12m
    Year 3 (2016: Age 32)… $12m
    Year 4: (2017) $8m, team option ($2m buyout)
    Year 5: (2018) $8m, team option ($2m buyout)
    Years 6-8: team options for $6m each; $1m buyouts

    I don’t know that Brian would consider this; I don’t know that Wren would either, but it seems to balance performance, costs, and the realities of age… allowing Gattis to move in to a full-time position during years 2-3 and perhaps beyond while Brian slides into more of a backup role in the year 3-6 range. In this scenario, Laird would be traded.

    First reactions will be “but he can get a lot more than that on the open market.” Well, yeah. Of course he can. Note the premise: “if he likes his life living in Atlanta and wants to stay.” He may very well decide that the AL is beckoning and that Gattis may be the new big fish in the tank so the time is right to strike camp and move on.

    The Braves should think about this since Bethancourt is looking like he’ll never have the bat to compete well at the major league level… and why not keep an All-Star catcher (or two)? But Brian will certainly have to give up a lot, and that’s why I don’t believe this will happen: I believe he’s playing in the AL next year for any one of six or seven possible clubs.

    • Steven Whitaker

      I agree with you on all fronts. I like seeing BMAC in an Atlanta uniform, and I feel like he will stick around for the remainder of this season. Next? Questionable.

  • fireboss

    Ant talk of trading him this season ignores the lost value if you do. You’re correct he will be here through September and get a qualifying offer before moving on to the Red Sox or to be a Yankee. With Tex’s injury, A-Rod’s demise and Jeter’s age they need him to fill the power void, no one believe any of the Yankee catcher’s this year will have that role next. The Red Sox have Ross and only have Napoli for year guaranteed while Salty is just a backup level guy. On top of that keeping him out of New York would make the Red Sox fans happy. Only Texas has the wherewithal to challenge them and he might just like Dallas better. Those three have to be the front runners for his services.

    • Steven Whitaker

      Agreed Fred. I have a bad feeling that he might end up a member of a AL East team after this season.

      • fireboss

        It’s always sad when a hometown hero leaves but honestly he’d be foolish not to take all the money they will throw at him and Wren needs some payroll room after he overpaid BJ

      • fireboss

        It’s always sad when a hometown hero leaves but honestly he’d be foolish not to take all the money they will throw at him and Wren needs some payroll room after he overpaid BJ

  • cheadrick

    I hate to say it, and I’ve expressed my hope in writing before that the Braves can find a way to keep Mac. That said, I’ll just say this. Come 2014, BMac is just no longer a Brave. Remains to be see if he’ll end up in the AL. I know some teams are eyeballin’ him, but either way, he’s gone next year. I just hope Gattis maintains his level of play (a touch of an unknown, unproven factor there), because outside of Laird, options become shorter with Bethancourt’s inconsistent play.