clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

TCB Staff: "Braves could win Evan Gattis trade, but I doubt it"

New, comments

How did our writing staff react to the big Astros trade that went down on Wednesday.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Astros made a big offseason splash early in 2015, trading a trio of prospects to the Atlanta Braves for slugger Evan Gattis. TCB covered the trade quite a bit on Wednesday, but here's a collection of staff reaction to the deal.

CRPerry

I like the trade for several reasons, even though I'm not enthused about Gattis' OBP/defense skills. First, the Astros traded from depth. Any time they can deal players that they don't particularly need for somebody that can help them right away is an automatic win, even if the player has warts. Second, there were only eleven batters in the major leagues last season that managed to reach 30 home runs. The Astros, with Gattis, Chris Carter, George Springer, and Jon Singleton, could conceivably have four, though three is more likely. Still...three 30+ homer batters in one lineup is something to celebrate. Finally, Gattis, though he's 28 years old, should have three or four years of club control remaining. He'll get expensive during arbitration, but not superstar expensive, and in the meantime, the Astros have added a big bat to contribute right now. Whether Gattis plays 1B to allow Singleton more seasoning or LF to allow Marisnick more seasoning, this is a clear offensive upgrade, at the cost of three prospects who are currently buried on the depth chart deep enough that their future with the club was in question anyway.

The Braves could "win" the trade, but I personally doubt it -- everything would need to go right with Ruiz and Thurman's development, and Folty would need to stop walking batters and become something better than a back-of-rotation or middle-relief pitcher. I find all of those possibilities to be less likely than not.

Jamesvanawesome

I am not comfortable with the defensive implications of Gattis and Fowler in the same outfield. Some have suggested that Gattis could be the Opening Day first baseman while Singleton gets more seasoning in AAA. I guess that would be fine, but it's not exactly a long term solution. I'm anxious to hear how the 'Stros plan on deploying their new toy. And I'd be very surprised if Fowler is still on this team after the 2015 Trade Deadline.

Excited about bringing in more power in this increasingly power-scarce age. Nervous about the accompanying strikeouts (we already have plenty of those, thankyouverymuch). Ambivalent on the prospects lost. If someone could just explain to me how the defense shakes out, I think this trade could be a win for the Astros.

Tim

All your catchers are belong to us!

Anthony

I'm not in love with the trade without a corresponding move. Gattis seems like something of a superfluous piece for the current Astros roster, and at the cost of the good-but-flawed prospects.

Brian

I don't love this move, but I like it. Even though Gattis' walk rates make me feel sad, his kind of power is a very rare thing in the modern game, and it requires paying up for, and sometimes putting up with flaws. If he could improve it by even 1.5% or so, it would be a nice boost (his MiLB numbers support the idea that there could be more). We should also remember that, despite his age, his background makes him a very young player, experience-wise. He has less than 800 Major League plate appearances under his belt. I wonder if Luhnow's group saw something they think they can fix, or an area they expect him to continue improving in. The fact that we can speak of him as an above-average offensive player with huge power as a known-quantity is already great; the fact that there might be more left is tantalizing.

As for the return, Folty is a reliever with no command, Ruiz is good, but a long way off (and, like DeShields, likely to be Rule 5 eligible well before he's really ready), and while Thurman has some upside, his best-case is a #3 starter, and he certainly hasn't come close to that in the minors so far. Most importantly, all three guys were blocked behind better options and weren't going to make a significant impact on our MLB roster this season, and maybe ever. The real question is what they do with Gattis and Fowler on the same team. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Fowler gone before Opening Day. We're still in the market for a starting pitcher, after all...

Clack

I don't think it's likely, but there is the possibility that the Astros acquired Gattis with the intent of flipping him for a pitcher or some other player. One of the mlb.com writers mentioned this as a possibility. Again, it doesn't seem likely, but just throw it out there.

Sean

Agreed. I don't think it's likely either.

From that same thought, would the Astros potentially sell high and flip Chris Carter? Not saying this should or will happen, but is it a possibility? The Astros just set their own market for Chris Carter with acquiring Gattis.

I don't think that if they've been trying to acquire Gattis since last summer that they would immediately flip him.

Brian

Even Gattis is basically Chris Carter without walks. Wouldn't make much sense to deal for Gattis and then flip Carter, IMO.

Ernie Breakfast

This may sound stupid, or naive, but I am excited for this move. Not because I heart Evan Gattis particularly. Not because I dislike any of the guys we let go. For the last handful of years, when you heard of an Astros transaction, it was trading prospects for prospects, or trading ML players for prospects, or picking up a guy on the waiver wire. It was about stockpiling talent for use in the future. We have all been told by the front office that when they thought we were getting closer to competing, they would make the moves to help the team take the next step. I like this move because it looks like the start of a shift in The Process that we all were promised was coming. We have now used some of this stockpiled talent to go out and get a real live major league ballplayer.

I know this site is very stats oriented, and I love that. Lots of folks will talk about his BB rate and K rate and ISO and his skill/lack of skill in the field, and eventually I will come down to earth and absorb all that. But whether Gattis turns into the next Astros HOF member, or if he never lives up to expectations, I will like this trade because it signaled the time in recent Astros history where they were willing to trade potential talent for talent that should help the big league team get better now.

Anthony

Dexter Fowler?

Brian

Lyles wasn't really a prospect at the time, so I guess it wasn't really a straight prospects-for-proven-talent move.

Ernie Breakfast

I think the team had come to the end of their rope with Lyles, and used him to get Fowler. This is actual prospects they have been high on, compared to the hoarding of prospects that has been done for a while. (i mean that in a good way.)

TidewaterAstros

I love the trade. Not because I'm confident in Gattis but because, as Ernie mentioned, it signals yet again that A) the rebuild has been mostly successful and B) the FO knows it and is serious about fielding the best team they can now, rather than later. It also meets two needs, explicitly stated by the FO: corner OF power and 1B competition. Third, with the loss of Folty the FO has once again shipped off or let go someone with alleged makeup/clubhouse issues. The body count has built to the point that it no longer looks anecdotal or coincidental. Norris, Cosart, DDJ, Folty, et al.

Clack

My reaction:
1. In pure baseball terms, I think this was a fair trade for both sides. The Astros frankly paid a steep price. All three minor leaguers are good prospects. But Gattis is a proven ML hitter with power, who is under team control for four more years. The market price for acquiring a hitter like that is fairly high. Quite a few teams were interested in Gattis because an available power hitter with substantial team control remaining is a rarity. Since the loss of Delino DeShields, Jr. may be a preview of more Rule 5 losses in the future, the Astros were in a position which favors trades like this one.

2. My feeling is that this is the trigger for more moves in the future. The Astros have too many OFers if Gattis plays LF; we don't know what this means for Singleton at 1b; trading 1 or more catchers seems more likely; and the trade of Folty probably increases the pressure to acquire another starting pitcher. It's difficult to articulate a clear opinion about this trade without knowing how the other pieces end up.

3. That said, the Astros' batting lineup looks more impressive now. Obviously the Astros place a high value on power, given the number of power hitters who could be stuffed into the lineup. Since the Astros appeared to have been pursuing a trade for Gattis all offseason, the front office must really like his hitting skills. That counts for something to me. I am somewhat concerned about his defense if he plays LF, but hopefully he will be motivated to turn himself into an average fielder.

Idrees

My initial reaction, as petty and childish as it may be, is a big fat "I told you so!"

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, from an email I sent the group on November 10, 2014:

Evan Gattis anyone? I just saw that the Braves are going to shop him aggressively (which is surprising to me). I know he is not a great C candidate long-term, but his weak defense in LF should be mitigated with the Crawfish Boxes' short porch. We could theoretically rotate him between LF, C, and DH. He would also add another legit power bat, and at 28, should have 2-3 more years of his prime. I think the acquisition cost in terms of players would ultimately be too high for my liking, but I think it is at least an intriguing option to consider.

After discussing how he would fit in an already crowded outfield (many like the idea of Marisnick and his upside in LF, if Fowler stays at CF), my response was:

Theoretically, Marisnick and Gattis don't have to be mutually exclusive. Marisnick in LF, Carter to 1B, and Gattis at DH, and send Singleton down to AAA for more development/seasoning. Gattis' big weakness of...defense makes him a perfect fit for the AL.

Lastly, I even called part of the package it would take to acquire Gattis:

I concede he definitely comes with risk. Again, this depends on the Braves' asking price, which will probably be too high for my liking. It is a beneficial exercise to consider both the risk and the rewards, and I think you guys correctly highlighted his risks. I wonder what their asking price would be anyway. Is a package of Folty and Domingo Santana even a conversation starter? Probably not.

I guess it turns out that I was wrong when I ended with "Probably not." Sorry folks, it is just so rare that I get something right that I had to give myself a high five here.

So going back on task, and actually discussing the trade, overall I really like it. Sure, the acquisition cost hurts a little, but I think it should always hurt when you have actual talent on your roster. Folty and his heat was always intriguing, Andrew Thurman can end up being a nice mid-rotation mainstay, and Rio Ruiz was a kid whose development I enjoyed following. But ultimately, this is a price I am comfortable paying for another legitimate power threat.

If Gattis can stay on the field more consistently than he has the past few seasons (and switching from primarily a catcher to a rotation of LF/DH/C should definitely help), then we are looking at a legit 30+ HR threat. A power core of Gattis, Carter, and Springer is going to be fun (and frustrating at times) to watch. In a time where power is getting more and more scarce, it is nice to see that the Astros are stockpiling it.