Brian McCann becomes a free agent after 2013 and the Atlanta Braves could already have a replacement if they decide not to re-sign the veteran catcher at the conclusion of the season. So the question is, who is going to step in for McCann?
Let's look at this youngster, Evan Gattis, who is tearing it up in Winter Ball and being featured as a catcher. Jon Heyman pointed out that the 26-year-old is destroying pitching in the Venezuelan League as member of the Aguilas de Azulia.
So far in the season, his batting average is .273 with 13 home runs and 34 RBI. Gattis has played in 49 games so far with Azulia and has been destroying pitching in the past 10 games hitting five homers and driving in seven while posting a .353 batting average. He currently has a home run in three consecutive games.
When looking at his 2012 minor league numbers, Gattis hit 18 home runs, 67 RBI, had an on-base percentage of .389 while posting a .305 batting average.
Gattis can play the outfield as well, however, the Braves need a speed guy, not another power hitter in the middle of the lineup.
But why trade Brian McCann, he's like the face of the franchise?
McCann is one of the most respected and smartest catchers in the game of baseball today. He has been durable staying out of danger around home plate and has seven consecutive seasons playing at least 120 games.
Catchers like McCann are a rare breed right now in the game of baseball. He can lead a pitching staff, barely commits errors and does a decent job keeping base stealers at bay. McCann had hitting career lows across the board, but his numbers were still above average for catchers.
In 2012, McCann hit 20 homers had 67 RBI with a .230 batting avg.
In other words, what is there not to like about McCann?
Well, for the Braves, though they would love to keep him around for his entire career, the truth is McCann, who is 28, is in his prime and will likely attract a lot of big money deals, if he comes back healthy.
The Braves exercised his 2013 option, so after he gets back from rehab, McCann will be back as the Braves' catcher.
They could simply let him walk at the end of 2013 or try to get something for him. The free agent market for a leadoff hitting left-fielder seems very poor right now as the Braves continue to shop and complete their offseason wish list. McCann, in the right package, could attract suitors.
For now, Gattis looks like a great fallback option for the Braves as a possible replacement for McCann if circumstances permit the minor league prospect to get a call.
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