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The Braves are considering calling up Christian Bethancourt

Jun 16, 2014, 10:32 AM EDT

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 10.31.22 AM Getty Images

Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Braves are considering making an interesting though potentially dangerous move: calling up catching prospect Christian Bethancourt. Calling him up is not the dangerous part. The move they’d make to give him playing time is:

Though a decision does not necessarily seem imminent, the Braves have discussed the possibility of promoting Bethancourt to serve as Atlanta’s starting catcher. If this decision were to be made, Gattis would move to left field and Justin Upton would transition to right field. To complete this equation, Jason Heyward would replace B.J. Upton in center field.

Upton can handle right. Heyward can handle center. Evan Gattis, as we all saw down the stretch last year, is a hot mess in the outfield. I mean, the effort is there and the brains are there, but he is truly a catcher and just can’t get to the balls he needs to get to.

Of course, the Braves’ biggest problem this year has been its offense. It has shown some signs of life in recent days, particularly at second base, where Tommy La Stella has taken over for the corpse of Dan Uggla. But B.J. Upton is still a drag on the offense despite some recent improvement. Bethancourt is no offensive powerhouse, but he has improved of late. He doesn’t need to be better than Gattis at the plate. He just needs to be better than Upton.

Interesting, and maybe a good move for the middle of the regular season. But I do worry about Gattis roaming left field if the race is close in September. And if he’s out there in the playoffs I may need to get heart medication.

  1. ame123 - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    Bad idea. Bethancourt will not be better than Upton with the stick and the team will be taking a hit on defense in both Left and Center.

    • daveitsgood - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      It’s a very low threshold to get over to be better than BJ at hitting. You really think that Bethancourt can’t do better than .210/.284/.350 and throw in .684 ops (for good measure)? The team would be better defensively at Catcher, less in left, but I’m thinking that there’s not a demonstrable difference between Heyward and Upton in Center with the way BJ has been this season and Heyward is leading in DRS in the OF so far.

      • swimmer2010 - Jun 16, 2014 at 5:34 PM

        Agreed. Brake Job hasn’t just been SUCKING at the plate, he is probably the WORST defensive starting CF in all of baseball…all for the bargain basement price of ONLY $14,000,000+ per year!!! Someone or several someones in the Braves front office should be FIRED for the B.J. Upton AND the UGLY DAN FIASCOES!!!

  2. baberuthslegs - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    Poor B.J.
    Can’t hit, and now he can’t field his position.
    Don’t they teach and reinforce fundamental fielding practices on the Braves?
    The last week or so has been embarrassing.

    • jerze2387 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:08 AM

      They teach and reinforce unwritten rules and respect for the game, not fielding practices.

      Respect for teh game WAY more important than fundamentals

    • davidtmp - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      I was at the game on Sat night when he missed the roller into the outfield at RC……gotta be kidding me. Then I thought he could have gotten to a short hit later that he shorthopped instead of making up for his earlier mistake. Then missing the ball later with the game in the balance when it probably would have been better to play the hop. And that’s just his defense, he did come thru at the plate late in the game, but needs to be more consistent.

      • swimmer2010 - Jun 16, 2014 at 5:36 PM

        I disagree. Brake Job is the very definition of consistency…he CONSISTENTLY SUCKS…in the field with his glove, with his arm AND WITH HIS BAT. He is a very well rounded player…when is comes to SUCKING…

  3. proudlycanadian - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    It would be a brave new world in the outfield.

  4. toodrunktotastethischicken - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    Where would that leave Laird and Doumit?

    • jerze2387 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:06 AM

      interesting. I forgot about Doumit. He actually has more experience in the OF than Gattis, so they might be better off sticking Doumit in LF and keeping Gattis behind the plate

      • chc4 - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:21 PM

        The key here is Gattis can’t handle being behind the plate. It’s hard to watch him play defense. Supposedly Bethancourt is very good back there.

  5. shawnuel - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    Gattis is made for the American league where he can DH and serve as a back-up catcher.

  6. dwrek5 - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    JUpton has one of the most beautiful right handed swings you’ll ever see and BJ’s is just a hot mess. Just swing like a normal person BJ!!! How did these 2 come from the same background?

  7. tbird05 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    More interestingly is that they are having this discussion knowing that they still owe BJ over $50 mil over the next 3+ years. This wouldn’t be significant for a team like the Dodgers, but the Braves are in a different world financially. To make matters worse, they are also discussing alternative ways to mitigate the loss of Uggla. Man, I bet Frank kicks himself in the but everyday he see’s those two.

    Frank, I don’t think you will have the resources, but just in case you do…please do not sign Justin Upton to a contract extension. You will be kicking yourself for that one too.

    • bobulated - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:21 AM

      I think the fiction that the Braves are a mid-market team completely breaks down when you realize that the CEO of Liberty Media made more than their entire payroll last season. Just because they don’t spend like the Dodgers doesn’t mean they don’t spend and not always wisely (Uggla, BJ). With the new stadium on the horizon and a reworked TV deal they seem to have been finding plenty of change in the couch cushions lately.

      • tbird05 - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:44 PM

        I agree that they will (and have shown recently) have a larger budget. I also agree that Liberty Media makes enough money to invest more into the Braves. However, that doesn’t change the budget they have set. Doesn’t matter how much the owner makes…only how much they are willing to spend. Because of this, the Braves will be in a different world financially – regardless of what the CEO of Liberty Media makes.

  8. shyts7 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    This would be one of the dumbest moves the Braves have ever made. Bethancourt is not that good of a hitter. Gattis is an average to above average catcher with a very good power bat. Bethancourt is a great catcher with a below average bat. Bethancourt’s defense is not great enough to make up for Gattis lack of ability in LF. What they should do is package Bethancourt in a deal for another OF. That way you can keep Gattis at his natural position and get a better OF.

    • bobulated - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      I might give you average for Oso Blanco’s catching but I’ve seem him ole several pitches in the dirt this year into wild pitches, balls that should have been blocked and he gave it the back hand. His throwing has been ok but he also snatches at the ball which has caused some catcher interference and probably affects his framing and getting borderline calls; he’s not a smooth receiver in any way. He’s definitely a work in progress and give him an “A” for effort but I agree that his future is probably best as a DH with occasional spot duty catching and LF only in extreme emergencies.

      • shyts7 - Jun 16, 2014 at 8:57 PM

        Gattis has a lot of potential and he is just entering his prime years. You have to remember he took a few years off. The guy has improved just from last year. I’d take his defense as he makes up his problems with the bat. Bethancourt’s defense doesn’t make up for his below average bat.

  9. chc4 - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Both the Upton’s are awful defensively in the OF so putting Gattis in LF wouldn’t be a big deal.

  10. swimmer2010 - Jun 16, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    I think a better move would be to just bring up the BEST HITTING outfielder in the farm system who also is a DECENT outfielder…leave Gattis where he is.

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