The Atlanta Braves are hoping they just acquired some valuable roster depth after completing a trade with the Los Angeles Angels for infielder David Fletcher and catcher Max Stassi, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. President of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos is sending back former first-round pick Evan White and left-handed pitcher Tyler Thomas.
The crux of the deal for Atlanta is Fletcher, a veteran utility man who owns a a .277 batting average in 534 career MLB games. As Passan noted, the Braves already boast two All-Star catchers in Sean Murphy and Travis d'Arnaud, so they will likely try to flip Stassi to a team in need of another backstop.
Fans have already seen Anthopoulos implement this savvy strategy in December after trading away starter Marco Gonzales two days after adding him to the roster. He just did the same with first baseman Evan White, who came over in the same deal with the Seattle Mariners. True to form, the executive is clearly taking an aggressive approach this offseason.
Despite being speculated as a landing spot for All-Star pitcher Sonny Gray, Atlanta has made a flurry of minor transactions rather than going all in for a premium talent. That can certainly change, however, as the Braves should remain motivated to seek reinforcements in their rotation.
After wisely locking up their core players, the 2021 World Series champions are expected to finish near or at the top of the league every year. They finished well short of that goal the past two postseasons, courtesy of the Philadelphia Phillies, but perhaps this Angels trade will give them needed balance for the 2024 campaign.