Padres acquire Christian Bethancourt from Braves

AP Photo/Todd Kirkland

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.