The Alanta Braves fire sale looks to be continuing even after the trade of Jason Heyward. I guess that’s what happens when you put all your eggs in a “Upton” basket that has nothing to do with Kate Upton. Late Monday night, news broke of an Astros-Braves trade that was discussed earlier in the offseason.
According to Fred Davis, “The Astros first began targeting Evan Gattis last summer. And when they asked about Gattis again early in the offseason, the Braves came back with an interesting response, according to major-league sources: Maybe, if you take B.J. Upton, too.”
“Maybe, if you take B.J. Upton, too.”-Fred Davis
The Astros have sought after “El Oso Blanco”, Evan Gattis’s nick name which translates in English to “The White Bear,” for a while according to Davis. Don’t the Astros already have a DH in Chris Carter and at least a few catchers as is? As a fantasy baseball player, I love the value of Gattis, because he’s a outfielder with catcher eligibility. Can he play outfield everyday?
Of course the trade for the Astros would have centered around Evan Gattis, so why did the Astros want him so much? He broke into the majors mostly due to an injury to Brian McCann, in 2013. He hit his first home-run that night (he hit 21 his rookie season with 65 RBIs). Once Brian McCann came back, Gattis served as a first-baseman, outfielder, and catcher throughout his rookie year. Last season, serving mostly as a catcher-DH player, Gatts hit 22 hrs with 58 RBIs. Could Gattis have been an insurance policy at first-base in case Jon Singleton struggles at the beginning of the season? Possibly, but first let’s analyze the potential trade.
The Braves Get
A pitching Prospect (more on this later)
The Astros Get
Cough”Upton” and “not Justin” and “not Kate!”
Just imagine the team with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, being asked to take on a player, who almost is owed the same amount of money on his contract as the Opening Day payroll in 2014. B.J. Upton is still owed $46 million for next 3 years of one of the worst contracts ever in baseball. The Astros 2014 Opening Day payroll was about $50 million. Just picture the thoughts going through Jeff Luhnow’s mind at that moment. What facial expressions was he making? Did he gag hearing the “B.J. Upton” name.
B.J. Upton made his name with the Tampa Bay Rays (Devil Rays). He was a rare combination of power and speed, but always struggled to maintain a respectable batting average. In his prime he averaged about 20 hrs and 30 sb, and he was able to have a good batting average in 2007 and 2008.
Writers sometimes have writer’s block. In 2013 B.J. Upton signed a 5-year deal with the Braves, who had his younger brother on his team, for $72.5 million dollars. You can say that B.J. Upton with the Braves, has hitter’s block (totally a thing). Maybe a change in scenery is what he needs. Maybe he is having vision problems. Or maybe he’s just lost it.
Call to the Pen
Davis reported that “The discussions, which one source said initially had “some legs,” could revive in a different form due to the Astros’ continued interest in Gattis. But the Braves, in their talks with the Astros, demonstrated that they will not trade Gattis unless they receive a significant benefit.”
The trade had legs, like it was in the process and then hit a snag? This brings to light something that might make sense, remember when the Astros did not protect Michael Feliz? Here is the article I wrote about that night. Later on that night they said a trade fell through, which is why they did not put him on the initial 40-man roster. Could this have been the reason Feliz was not protected, because Luhnow was working on a trade with the Braves? I do not have any sources to prove this, just making a speculation as to what could have been.
Most people made fun of the Astros for not protecting Michael Feliz, then they got a feel from the fan base, decided to protect him. But was Luhnow telling the truth? He did say he was looking to add a power outfield bat. Astros fans might not want to get too attached to their top prospects, because they might be traded away to improve the current Astros.
I guess we may never know how close Evan Gattis was to becoming an Astro, but would be nice to have people in the stands dressed as “white bears” like the Pablo Sandoval’s “panda’s” for the World Series in 2017.