The focus was on Shohei Ohtani, but his former teammates were actually on the move on Friday. The Atlanta Braves acquired infielder David Fletcher and catcher Max Stassi from the Angels, continuing what has been an active offseason for the team.
In return, the Braves shipped off newly acquired 1B Evan White and pitcher Tyler Thomas, who was just selected in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Wednesday.
Fletcher, once the starting 2B and SS of the Angels, signed a five-year, $26 million extension back in 2021. He was coming off 2020 where he received MVP votes, and had been worth 5.9 fWAR in his first 283 games.
Unfortunately, the contact-dependent infielder immediately regressed once he signed his contract. He went from having a 98 wRC+ and a .292/.346/.386 slash line in his first three seasons, to having a 71 wRC+ and a .259/.296/.327 slash line over his next three seasons
Still, Fletcher, despite still being owed at least $15.5 million over the next two seasons ($12.5 million in guaranteed salary plus two $1.5 million buyouts for 2026 and 2027), should slot in nicely as the Braves backup infielder.
The 29-year-old graded out as an average infielder by OAA in 2023 (+2 at SS, 0 at 3B, and -3 at 2B), and has played also played LF and RF in his career.
In 2022, the catcher signed a three-year extension with the Angels worth $17.5 million, with 2024 being the final year of the deal. He is owed $7 million this year and has a team option for 2025 for $7.5 million with a $500k buyout.
Stassi had a 113 wRC+ across 424 PAs in 2020 and 2021, but struggled at the plate in 2022, only managing a 63 wRC+. He has been a plus defender in his career.
The 32-year-old isn't likely to stick around, however. With Travis d'Arnaud and Sean Murphy both locked in, the Braves will likely look to move him like they with with Marco Gonzales.
Evan White's tenure with the Braves comes to a close after just five days, while Tyler Thomas lasted just over 52 hours in the Braves organization.
The Braves continue to add some great depth to their organization as they prepare for the 2024 season. They've also proven their willingness to flip any player they receive in a deal if they believe it makes the team better in the long run.
Stassi is likely going to find himself on a different team shortly. The Braves still need starting pitching help and he could be a piece added in to help accomplish that.