Braves “close” to trading catcher Christian Bethancourt to Padres

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By re-signing A.J. Pierzynski and adding Tyler Flowers the Braves made it clear they weren’t ready to give former top prospect Christian Bethancourt another chance at catcher and now they’re moving on completely.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Braves are “close” to trading Bethancourt to the Padres, who’ve been linked to him all week.

Bethancourt has hit just .219 with two homers and a .527 OPS in 80 games as a big leaguer, but he’s only 24 years old and ranked as a consensus top-100 prospect as recently as 2014. He also hit .327 in 52 games at Triple-A this past season, so it’s easy to see why the Padres would take a flier on him as cheap, potential long-term help at a premium position.

Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season

Kopech has opted out
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Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.

The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”

Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.

Now, however, Kopech has opted out.