The Braves are shopping catcher Evan Gattis at the GM meetings, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman notes that Gattis could be headed to the American League as a potential DH candidate.
Gattis, who is under team control for the next four years, is one of the most powerful bats in the trade market. Gattis slugged 43 home runs over the last two years, despite only getting 783 PA in that time frame. His .487 slugging percentage was tops among all catchers over the last two years.
Although Gattis has experience in left field and at catcher, he profiles as a DH candidate in the AL. After splitting time between left field and catcher in 2013, Gattis was primarily a catcher in 2014. For the 2014 season, Gattis' 0.3 defensive WAR was 27th among MLB catchers with at least 700 innings, according to Fangraphs. Another factor that could force Gattis into a DH role in the AL is a lingering back injury, which limited Gattis to just two starts over the final 3 weeks of the regular season.
Besides Gattis, two other big names in the DH market this offseason are Victor Martinez and Nelson Cruz. With both Martinez and Cruz reportedly seeking 4-year deals, Gattis could be a cheaper option for teams open to a trade. With Martinez and Cruz entering their age 36 and age 35 seasons, respectively, Gattis being just 28 years old could be another factor that plays to the Braves' advantage.
Meanwhile, Atlanta will likely turn over the catching duties to 23 year-old Christian Bethancourt. Bethancourt, who appeared in 31 games for the 2014 Braves, has been a top prospect for the Braves for the last several years. Lauded for his defensive value, the biggest concern for Atlanta regarding Bethancourt (career .679 OPS in the minors) could be his bat joining a lineup that already contains three players with a sub-.660 OPS in Chris Johnson, BJ Upton, and Andrelton Simmons. The Braves finished 29th in the majors in runs scored in 2014, so subtracting Gattis could mean making some offensive additions elsewhere.