Report: Evan Gattis Set to Move to Left Field for Atlanta Braves


There are plenty of rumors swirling about the Atlanta Braves and, in particular, their plans with the outfield moving forward. However, amid trade winds surrounding both Jason Heyward and Justin Upton (who recently updated his no-trade clause), there is a report circulating that new “man in charge” John Hart has made the decision to move Evan Gattis from catcher to a more “full-time” role as the team’s left fielder.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post brings the latest, and in his report, he solicited this quote from Hart:

"“We want to get Evan’s bat in the lineup, and if he catches, he would play just 100 games and we would not have a bat perhaps good enough to hit cleanup for those other games. So we are going to put Evan in left field and see what we have.”"

It should be noted that there have already been rumblings about Gattis being included in a potential trade (even if it is simply to off-load B.J. Upton’s contract), but if he stays in Atlanta, this is interesting to say the least. In short, Evan Gattis has been an absolutely miserable defensive player in left field during his career, costing the team 10 runs (according to DRS) in just 342.1 career innings at the position. Over a full scene, that type of performance would be incredibly costly to a team’s overall defensive profile, and there is little reason to think that he could ever become even an adequate defender in the outfield.

In addition, there is also the quagmire of what to do with the current outfielders. Justin Upton and Jason Heyward represent two of the top four position players on the current roster (along with Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons), and unless the team elects to simply cut ties with B.J. Upton while moving Heyward to center field full-time, one of them would have to be on the way out in this scenario.

There is a lot to discuss here, but Evan Gattis is a very good right-handed power source, and that is certainly valuable. However, if the team is set on someone else (i.e. Christian Bethancourt) playing catcher in 2015, trading Evan Gattis would be preferable to simply praying that his defense improves in left field.