Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is leaning towards carrying three catchers when Brian McCann is set to return to the Braves’ 25-man roster in a little over a week, according to David O’Brien. Gonzalez says Gattis “hasn’t given us any reason [to send him down]”, and also shockingly suggested he may use Gattis in the outfield while Jason Heyward recovers from his emergency appendectomy.
If McCann comes off the DL before Heyward, Gonzalez hinted that he could play Gattis some in left field and move Justin Upton from left field to right.
“But who goes down?” to open a spot on the 25-man roster for McCann, Gonzalez asked rhetorically. “But that’s nine, 10 days down the road.”
Though Gattis is only hitting .235 with a .293 on-base percentage, 11 of his 16 hits have gone for extra bases — five doubles and six home runs. He has logged 37 games in the outfield in the Minors, mostly with Double-A Mississippi, though his defense is certainly a big concern for the Braves as they contemplate finding a spot for him in the lineup.
The Braves have traded pitchers Lucas Harrell and Dario Alvarez to the Rangers, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. The Rangers are sending 21-year-old infielder Travis Demeritte to the Braves, per MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.
Harrell, 31, has made five starts for the Braves this season, posting a 3.38 ERA with a 21/12 K/BB ratio in 29 1/3 innings. The rest of his season has been spent at the minor leagues, including Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo with the Tigers, as well as Triple-A Gwinnett with the Braves.
Alvarez, 27, has an even 3.00 ERA with a 28/5 K/BB ratio in 15 innings of relief for the Braves. He throws from the left side so he’ll give a particular boost to the Rangers’ bullpen when needed.
Demeritte was taken in the first round — 30th overall — by the Rangers in the 2013 draft and was considered the Rangers’ 20th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. This year, with Single-A High Desert, he has hit .272/.352/.583 with 25 home runs and 59 RBI in 378 plate appearances. He has played second base almost exclusively, but has also logged time at shortstop and third base in his minor league career.
Harrell will be arbitration eligible for the first time after the season. Alvarez has accrued only 61 days of service time.
Teams in need of starting pitching can call the White Sox about James Shields as the club has made him available in a trade, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports and MLB Network reports.
A trade would allow Shields to land with his third team this season. The Padres traded Shields to the White Sox in early June for pitcher Erik Johnson and minor leaguer Fernando Tatis, Jr. Things haven’t gone better for him since leaving San Diego with a 4.28 ERA. In 10 starts with the White Sox, Shields has compiled a 5.17 ERA with a 29/25 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings.
Shields, 34, is owed $21 million in both 2017 and ’18, then has a $16 million club option for 2019 with a $2 million buyout.
The White Sox are teetering on the edge between being buyers and sellers. They entered play Wednesday on a four-game winning streak with a 50-50 record, eight games out of first place in the AL Central and six games out of the second AL Wild Card slot.