Padres acquire Christian Bethancourt from Braves

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It was reported as close this morning and now the deal is done, as the Padres have acquired catcher Christian Bethancourt from the Braves for right-hander Casey Kelly and catcher Ricardo Rodriguez.

It wasn’t too long ago that Bethancourt was viewed as the catcher of the future in Atlanta, but he owns a disappointing .219/.245/.283 batting line in the majors and has had some surprising struggles behind the plate. The Braves recently re-signed A.J. Pierzynski and added Tyler Flowers this week, so the writing was on the wall that his days with the organization could be numbered. Still, he’s just 24 and had success in the minors, so the Padres will try to get him back on track.

Once a mainstay on prospect lists, Kelly was one of the key pieces in the Adrian Gonzalez trade with the Red Sox five years ago. However, he has dealt with all sorts of injury issues, including Tommy John surgery in 2013. Now 26 years old, he appeared in two games with the Padres this past season and had a 5.16 ERA in 17 starts and 14 relief appearances between Double-A and Triple-A.

Rodriguez is a young catcher who hit .266 with two home runs and .712 OPS over 30 games this season while splitting time between the Dominican Summer League and rookie ball in Arizona. He’ll turn 18 later this month.

As for where Bethancourt fits with the Padres, beat writer Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune speculated earlier today that a trade involving Derek Norris or Austin Hedges could come next.

Gallegos agrees to 2-year, $11M contract with Cardinals

Atlanta Braves v St. Louis Cardinals
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ST. LOUIS – Reliever Giovanny Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a two-year, $11 million contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”

He was obtained from the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.

He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.