As the terrible pun says, Brian McCann will be with the Braves when they travel to Cincinnatti to play the Reds in the first game of a 10 game road trip. McCann will add more offensive power into an already nightmarish lineup. His presence on the lineup means players have to be moved around. Infielder Tyler Pastornicky is being sent down to AAA Gwinnett to make room for McCann on the 40-man roster, but who will come off the starting lineup?
The obvious answer would be rookie catcher Evan Gattis if he wasn’t hitting so well. The Braves would have to be crazy to take him out of the lineup with the way he has been hitting. The National League Rookie of the Month has contributed to the Braves in a much bigger way than anyone could have imagined. Gattis can play other positions, so it’s not like the Braves have to make a choice bewtween one or the other. He played games at first base during Freddie Freeman’s time on the disabled list, and could also play in the outfield. Now that Freeman is back the safest bet is to assume that Gattis would play either left or right field, at least until Jason Heyward recovers from his appendectomy.
Gattis will still see some time behind the plate this season. I could easily see a situation where Gattis gives McCann a break mabye one or two games a week. McCann would be able to pinch hit in those games, and his All-Star bat could deliver some big hits in tricky situations.
This is nothing but a good situation for the Braves. I don’t think any of the other 29 teams can say they are trying to figure out what they should do with their surplus of good hitters. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out over the next couple weeks while Heyward is still recovering. The competition between the sensational rookie and the All-Star veteran in his contract year is just one of the many great stories surrounding the Braves this season.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot that the Braves still have Gerald Laird on their roster, too.
How will this scenario play out? Will the Braves re-sign McCann? Will they trade him before he can explore free agency? Who would you rather see catching for the Braves this season, and next season?
After a month of games, the teams are starting to differentiate between good and bad. The Braves look really good, and I hope to continue talking about their season all the way through October.