According to multiple reports, the Atlanta Braves are sending OF/C/Grendel-Slayer Evan Gattis to the Astros for a trio of quality prospects in righties Michael Foltynewicz and Andrew Thurman as well as third baseman Rio Ruiz. Foltynewicz was ranked behind only Carlos Correa and Mark Appel in the Astros’ system, and is a top 50/75 prospect overall. Ruiz is a clear Astros top ten type, and Thurman is a nice arm, too. All in all, it’s a really significant haul for the Braves, especially considering Gattis’ limitations.
But, hey, he’s got a big power bat, and it’ll probably play extremely well at Minute Maid Park. He’s also not even in his arbitration years yet. I understand the deal for the Astros, even if it seems like a lot to give up.
Gattis is an interesting addition for the Astros from another perspective. Obviously the bat is primarily what the Astros are paying (handsomely) for. But he’s also an interesting fit because of where he can play. With some time in left field, some time behind the plate, and some time at DH, adding Gattis may have just given the Astros a number of trade chips.
Maybe the addition gives the Astros the comfort to move catcher Jason Castro (who would have a nice market out there), given that the Astros already have Hank Conger and Carlos Corporan. If the Astros start shopping Castro, that’ll put a serious dent in the Welington Castillo market.
More interestingly (and more positively) …
Maybe the addition of Gattis gives the Astros the comfort to move an outfielder. They’d already been rumored to be considering moving Dexter Fowler, who was already a highly interesting potential target for the Cubs.
Fowler, 28, is a one-year guy who’ll make about $9 million in 2015 before hitting free agency, so he wouldn’t be blocking anyone long-term. He can play center field (though the metrics say he went from below average to abysmal there last year), he regularly posts an excellent OBP and walk rate, he has a little pop, and he hits from both sides of the plate. Whether he would play in center, exclusively, or rotate around, he’s a lead-off type who dramatically increases the overall talent in the outfield. In short? Want.
For what it’s worth, Ken Rosenthal has already today reiterated that the Astros are open to moving Fowler. And we discussed yesterday how the Cubs may be looking to add someone who can play center field. So, you know. We’ll see if there’s any traction related to the Cubs here.