Hart should deal both Uptons, Gattis

John Hart should deal both Uptons brothers, B.J. and Justin. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

John Hart should deal both Uptons brothers, B.J. and Justin. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

John Hart should deal both Uptons, B.J. and Justin. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Baseball’s general meetings opened today in Phoenix and already sparks are flying off Twitter feeds that the team is seeking to trade catcher Evan Gattis. That should come as no surprise to anybody in Atlanta since this has been a topic for months.

What’s significant about these meetings, and this offseason, is that new team president (and acting general manager) John Hart has been entrusted to make the major decisions. It’s the first new decision-maker the Braves have had since Frank Wren was promoted to general manager in 2007.

The Braves need a leadoff hitter, a center or right fielder and a lineup with higher-percentage hitters. The problems certainly are fixable. Hart hasn’t asked me, but these three players should be in his outgoing tray. I’ve referenced them in other columns and blogs since late last season:

— B.J. UPTON: This is sort of the “duh” move of the offseason. I won’t go as far as saying there’s zero chance of Upton returning because I never thought Dan Uggla would be with the Braves in spring training last season after he had been left off the 2013 playoff roster. What I underestimated was how stubborn Wren would be as far as how much of Uggla’s remaining contract he would be willing to eat. Wren paid for that decision because the second basemen struggled for the first three months of the season before being released and Wren could’ve had another player on the roster rather than force manager Fredi Gonzalez to play lineup roulette.

Dealing Upton (who has three years left on his contract) will be even more difficult than getting rid of Uggla (who had two). My guess is Hart will try to work a trade where he: 1) Takes back another team’s problem contract, hoping/believing that anybody would be an improvement; 2) Also will get approval from ownership to pay a significant chunk of Upton’s deal.

— EVAN GATTIS: I like Gattis. You like Gattis. Everybody likes Gattis. But Christian Bethancourt will be the team’s starting catcher. Gattis doesn’t fit the mold of a veteran backup catcher that the Braves need, nor is he strong enough defensively that a team would want to keep him as a starting outfielder.

Equally important: Gattis, unlike B.J. Upton, has value. He is young, cheap and can hit for power. He isn’t arbitration eligible until 2016 and free agency until 2019. He is an ideal candidate to be a designated hitter in the American League.

— JUSTIN UPTON: He’s a terrific player, even if he runs hot and cold. But he and Jason Heyward both will be going into their free agency seasons and I doubt sincerely the organization will be able to re-sign both (if either). Trading The Good Upton should bring a solid player in return and it would enable the Braves to send a message to Heyward that they are committed to him (assuming they are).

Depending on what players could be acquired in trades or free agency, Heyward could play in either center or right. He obviously has the speed and the arm to play either. Offensively, Heyward hit .271 last season, his highest since .277 in his rookie year. It’s still not as high as most would’ve projected for his fifth season but he hit over .300 in July and August and .298 after the All-Star break, despite dividing his time between first and fifth in the batting order.

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Reader Comments 0

87 comments
BravoDawg
BravoDawg

Will anybody take BJ & Fredi if we throw in Gattis? hate to sacrifice the white bear but the other 2 got to go!!!

UsedUpCoaches
UsedUpCoaches

I agree with 2 of the 3 moves you suggested. The BIGGEST BLUNDER the Braves made was not firing FREDI. Nothing will change this year no matter how good the trades are. I would keep Gattis because he can play the outfield as good if not better than both the Uptons. As for Heyward, his best trade value is now and between the July trade deadline. Probably would be better to bundle him with Johnson and get a starting  OF or 3B position. Cox and Wren both are responsible for ruining a CF on their team who now starts for the Twins. Braves gave him away.They have 2 young IF that could play 2B AND 3B along with SS Simmons and 1B Freeman to build around. They should resign free agent P Harang and keep Medlin. Bottom line is Braves are going to drop further down period !!!  If Hart is so great he should be able to make good trades on both UPTONS , CJ , HEYWARD and possibly GATTIS  depending on return from other trades. Braves hope to be competitive by new ballpark time !!!

Lovebaseball
Lovebaseball

There you go! get rid of the Uptons, Heyward, and Gaddis. Whlle your at it, Chris Johnson should be gone too. If these guys stick around, the Braves will be lucky to finish in fourth place in their division. Bring in the AAA players. Worst of all, Braves Management has already goofed.... they rehired Fredi Gonzales. Let's begin to rebuild and hopefully within the next several years, they will have a contending team.

58Supersports
58Supersports

If we rebuilding...(I hope we do) why do we still have inept Fredi G as manager! I love Hart's candor and being open to the fans. Make a lot of fans happy, trade FG to AAA.

AJC you need to fire your redesign man....no blog in over a day.

Thanks Jeff for doing a report on Braves...keep it up.

Over The Hill
Over The Hill

HEY I LIKED A SHOT AT BJ JOB I COULD HIT AT LEAST 210 BA 10 HR AND 40 RBI FOR THE MAJOR LEAGUE MINIMUM OR I MIGHT DO MORE BUT HEY I AM  60 YRS OLD.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Jeff ,

Why trade BJ for some other MLB teams "BAD" contract. Just release him ,acquire another young CF (Jackie Bradley Jr. or another AAAA type player) pay him the minimum and any production you get over .200 BA 10 HR and 40 RBI is a plus. So the cost to the Braves in 2015 would be around 15.5 million (15 million for BJ) . However I truly expect BJ and his contract to be in CF when the Braves open play in 2015.He has no value in a trade and his contract is too expensive for the Braves to eat.

MikeS777
MikeS777

Does it matter what they do with these guys?  They benched Uggla.  LaStella did well for a while until MLB caught up with him and his average dropped off sharply.

The Braves as a team hit worse in the second half of the season after Uggla was released, so clearly there was no magic fix by just getting rid of him.

Here's the problem...are the Braves willing to pay for real upgrades to these guys?  They overpaid for BJ and Uggla, but that money wouldn't have been good enough to bring in two premier players in this market.

So do they hand more big contracts to similar 2nd or 3rd tier players, or do they man up and really go after some premier bats to turn this lineup around?

As a side note, are they going to get a hitting coach in here that is any good or will we continue to see bats disappear and under perform?

58Supersports
58Supersports

@MikeS777  It was not the hitting coach... It was the sorry players wouldn't do what they told them.

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

Trade the AJC for the Topeka Bi-Weekly Review.  Their blog works.  Act now while the AJC has some value.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@BooBooBear I expect to never see you on here again then bbb, please just shut up with all the complaints..we know you hate the AJC yet here you are!

afx
afx

as many stated, this team at least 2-3 years from contending, so what differences if closer saved couple, or even 5 more games. you got my point - for him Braves probably will get return in total equal to gattis, jupton or even more. bj and his protector wren not worthy to mention. wish bj to spend 75 mil. gift wisely and pray wren like a god.

BSNBC
BSNBC

Trade Heyward while there is still some worth!

braves2017
braves2017

@BSNBC Why would you trade a player that is providing so much to the team? Unless you want to completely re-build the entire lineup from scratch, Heyward along with Freeman is who you build the offense around.

dawgfacedboy
dawgfacedboy

Dealing Upton and Gattis subtracts about 50 HR from this already punchless lineup. They better pick up a couple of .300 hitters if they are going to give that up.


This team is still a couple of years away. I don't see Heyward hitting .300. More like .285.

iBalling
iBalling

TWO WORDS...."DEAL THEM!" ONE MORE..."FAST!". Done!

chriswatson
chriswatson

"Trade" BJ Upton? The only way that will happen is if another team already has the better end of a potential trade and BJ is a throw in to get him off their hands. Even if they can find someone to do this they would almost certainly be stuck paying 2/3 of his remaining salary. Otherwise there isn't a team in MLB that makes this trade. Better to keep him than give him away. I think he could be an effective platoon player who provides some speed off the bench. Heyward in CF, J. Upton in RF, and a player TBD to platoon with BJ in LF.      

chriswatson
chriswatson

So the solution to the Braves crappy offense is to trade their second best power hitter and replace him with a catcher that will hit around .260/ .270 hitter with no pop?

braves2017
braves2017

The Braves need to re-sign Heyward. Look at the current market and comparables to see value. If he would have accepted Freeman's contract - it would already be done. Look for something a little bit higher per year for 7-8 years.


As for Gattis, yes he's awesome and we all love him. His value is better utilized in the AL, and we can fill a lot of needs by letting him go while his value is sky-high.


Ideally we can get rid of CJ and BJ as well, but I wouldn't want to see JUp go unless it's for a great return. (Can always get his production this year then get a nice draft pick out of him.)



Intruder
Intruder

Why should a catcher who can hit be traded and a catcher who can't hit get the job?

Zing
Zing

I still think it would be interesting to duct tape the two Uptons together and tell teams: if you want JUp, you gotta take BJ.  I wonder if a team would go for that?  A rich team might not care so much about BJ's contract.

Bravesman
Bravesman

Trade Gattis a cheap right side power bat when for years the Braves stated over and over they needed for their lineup? Trade BJ for what? Do we sell our stocks when they hit rock bottom? 1 out of 3 today. The Braves should trade Justin Upton who will be a free agent one year from now for prospects.

Nowayjose9
Nowayjose9

Who cares. It'll be another crappy 4-6 games under 500 regardless.

58Supersports
58Supersports

@Nowayjose9  I care that's why I bit@# about a inept manager running a team Hart is trying to rebuild. It's like a ship without a rudder.

Jake from State Farm
Jake from State Farm

If you trade Gattis, you better get a HAUL for him. He is probably the best asset to provide some value and without him in the Braves lineup, scoring runs will be worse than last year. Not sold on Bethancourt yet...his defense was shaky (even though that is supposed to be his strength) and showed almost no power.

Jacket Detective
Jacket Detective

MLB should have copied how the NFL does their contracts. If you do not make the off-season payment to the player in the NFL, you are out of the contract and he becomes a free agent. That sure beats being stuck with the terrible contracts to Uggla and Upton. Frank Wren's propensity for bad moves should have gotten him fired before he wrecked us for years.

Lee09
Lee09

I agree Jeff...trade all 3 of them though with B.J. we might be lucky to get a new bat boy if we agree to pay most of B.J.s contract. This team has a few years to go before they are going to contend for anything and with that new stadium coming around the corner time is approaching fast. I don't care where it is located this is the Braves and an Atlanta franchise. Most fans will turn at the drop of a hat. And how much are the ticket prices going to rise. I know I want to spend my hard money on  this overrated outfield. Gattis is not the future of this team either and he can bring an attractive trade I'm sure. .

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

Walter O'Malley said, "I'd rather trade a player a year too soon than a year too late."  The Braves are not that bright.  BJ is five years too late.  Gattis ended the year out with eye problems, back issues, kidney stones, and the bubonic plague, so all trades will magnify his lack of playing the last month, and lack of production after the DL.  So, a year too late.  Justin just had what they call a "career year," which means he will never have another like it again.  So, he might be the right one to trade, but the Braves will get someone who sucks or will be like the other steroid head and play his butt off for a fat contract elsewhere - a one year wonder.  In the end the team loses, the fans lose, and the only ones happy are the sports writers.



TreeRollins
TreeRollins

This new web site just absolutely SUCKS! aJC you suck.

redleg24
redleg24

Trade both Uptons and Hayward in order to get the most value.  Got to get two or three players for J Up and Hayward.  Bj is just a give away.

Termigator
Termigator

Yea Jeff, trade your top 2 HR producers; you might be a good writer but you do not know Jack about baseball. 


Bogey
Bogey

Term...the Braves have a lot of holes to fill, and since they can't play with the big boys in free agent market, they'll have to do it via trades.

There are few current Braves with much trade value, but JUp and Gattis do. Justin will NOT resign with Atlanta, and trading him will bring much more than a sandwich pick next offseason.

Gattis has no role on this team except as a great asset to trade and bring talent back from an AL team.

2015 will not be a playoff caliber year for Atlanta, and moves Hart jakes now are setting things up down the road ..... Gotta get fans excited for that new stadium - this is a 2 year plan.

KENCOWART
KENCOWART

I can't avoid thinking b.j. upton will still be here on opening day. get used to it. he will still be here like a bad dream. All these options everyone wants us to consider are pipe dreams. immature at best. some things will change but not very many. who knows what gaddis will bring or whether he stays or goes. we know who he is. we know what the uptons bring. everyone else in the league knows as well. there aren't alot of wrenns out there stupid enough to accommodate us. this year won't get fixed this year. recognize that .

caneowar
caneowar

In what world is Heyward better than Justin Upton? Despite his defensive woes, Gattis is much better at the plate than Belrancourt. I predict Beltrancourt will be a .230 hitter at best. Braves don't need another dead bat in the lineup. I'd get the best deals I could for BJ, Johnson and Heyward.

kerryb
kerryb

I think Bethencourt will be more like a .270 hitter. Gattis is gone get use to it. He has great value for AL teams but not in the NL. He is a natural AL DH. Whatever Bethencourt hits he will save runs with his defense and arm where Gattis was a total liability.

58Supersports
58Supersports

@kerryb  Bethencourt had a few passed balls also that cost the team...not as great as Braves management wants you to believe. Super arm is best tool.

RTS123
RTS123

@kerryb Did you not watch the games he played in....his defense was terrible and that was supposed to be his strong area.

tvsportscaster
tvsportscaster

Jeff, John Hart is not team president. John Schuerholz is as I'm sure you are aware. Hart's title is President of Baseball Operations

DrPhill
DrPhill

Gattis will tear up the American League as a DH, and I'm sure he will be happy to get out of Atlanta.

jc312
jc312

I agree with you about Gattis and B.J., but calling Justin Upton "terrific" sounds like marketing hype. 


Obviously he can hit, but he's streaky when what you want is consistency.  And he was the worst defensive outfielder in the NL and probably the bigs. 


The Uptons were a bad idea. The team chemistry went to hell, and it's time to clean out the stable and start over. I'd be sorry to see Gattis go, because he seems like a good guy, but I don't see him getting any better, and he might survive as a DH in the AL.

josephina
josephina

@58Supersports @jc312  Justin's outfield position should be right field, not left.  He played right field before coming to Atlanta. I don't care what MLB says, Justin's terrible in left field.  So many misses and mistakes made by him. 


79
79

keep BJ and make him slap and bunt and run......paying somebody $40+MM to take him is bad, bad business......trade little brother for prospects......keep Gattis and let him play left and catch every third day...he will still have big value next Dec if it doesn't work.....keep Heyward if he'll take extension at 5yr/65MM......if not, trade for more everyday player prospects.......This team is horribly broken....All MLB knows Braves are desperate.......BJ could bunt for .240...hell, Brett Butler bunted .300 for 5+ years

58Supersports
58Supersports

@79  BJ is not a Brett Butter... couldn't come close to him.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Heyward or Good Upton?  With a team struggling for offense, I think Good Upton trumps Heyward, assuming the contract price is going to be about the same.  Defensive outfielders are cheaper to find and sign that sluggers. 

seminoleking
seminoleking

actually, i would keep bj, work on his new stance that it took two years for the braves to figure out and trade gattis and upton for contact hitters.........people wanna look at the obvious problem of bj upton, but the braves are a bad team TOP TO BOTTOM. trading him isnt solving the rest of that garbage lineup. no, the braves problem is contact hitters, top to bottom. look at the royals. they are the team i wish the braves were......