Probably about the same moment that I hit the ‘publish’ button on this piece, the Braves will announce that catcher Evan Gattis (see Jeff’s piece on Bear Spotting) will be activated from the disabled list and penciled into the lineup for tonight’s tilt against the Marlins at Turner Field.
But with baseball and physics, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction: somebody on the 25-man roster has to go away to make that happen.
Adding intrigue is the fact that there’s this pesky Trade Deadline coming up in 10 days.
The State of the Roster
As of this morning, there are 40 names on the 40-man roster. Chasen Shreve‘s name was the newest to be added. Actually, I lied a little: there’s 44 names on the list, but 4 of those (Kris Medlen, Jonny Venters, Cory Gearrin, and Brandon Beachy) are on the 60-day DL, so they don’t count against the ’40’. Gavin Floyd is still on the 15-day DL, so he’ll eventually be moved to the extended DL when a slot is needed. More on that later.
But today (probably), Gattis will take somebody’s spot on the 25-man roster. The candidates, please?
- Christian Bethancourt. The easiest answer. But is it the right answer? He’s adapted well to the majors thus far when behind the plate, and even held his own when standing up beside it, hitting .240… identical to Gerald Laird‘s average. The no-brainer move is to option him back to AAA. Chance of this happening: 60%
- Tyler Pastornicky. Was frankly called up (I believe) because the rules prohibited bringing Philip Gosselin back after the All-Star break. Regardless of the reason, he’s pretty much got to stick around for another few days, at least. Chance of this happening: 1%
- Chasen Shreve. Nope. The reason he’s up is because there’s no more capable lefty reliever available in the organization right now. I’ll save space and also say that no relief pitcher is going away today. Chance of this happening: 0%
The somewhat outside-of-the-box possibilities:
Ryan Doumit. Hitting .208 overall, 1 for 9 in July with dwindling plate appearances over the past month. Why keep him when you (a) have 3 better catchers; and (b) all of them are hitting better? Releasing him would also free up a slot on the 40-man roster. Trading him (if you could find a partner) could save over a million bucks. Chance of this happening: 30%
- Gerald Laird. He’s a good teacher, decent hitter, and is cheaper than Doumit. Better choice for catcher #3. Chance of this happening: 1%
- Ramiro Pena. Hitting just .204 with only 7 plate appearances this month (though 2 for 6 officially, .333). He and Doumit have been pushed to the end of the bench, but know that he can still spell Chris Johnson. Of course, so can Pastornicky or (better) Phil Gosselin. And both of those guys hit better. But that’s less likely today. Chance of this happening: 8%
- Jordan Schafer. Still the best 4th outfielder we’ve got – defense with speed… if not bat (.171). Maybe, but not today. Chance of this happening: 0%
Roster flexibility is vital for a GM at this time of year, so I would not be at all surprised if Doumit was dumped today. In fact, that would be a little exciting, for it could signal that a trade of some ilk was in the works. But such a move would give Wren one 40-man slot, plus the chance for a second one (Floyd’s spot) if needed. Ideally, we’d like to see Jonny Venters return and take that slot, but… well… don’t hold your breath, I’m sorry to say.