The NL East champion Atlanta Braves continued their busy offseason Friday night. The Braves acquired infielder David Fletcher and catcher Max Stassi from the Los Angeles Angels for first baseman Evan White and minor league lefty Tyler Thomas, the teams announced.
Atlanta acquired White along with Jarred Kelenic and Marco Gonzales Seattle Mariners last week. Gonzales has since been shipped to the Pittsburgh Pirates and now White is heading to Anaheim. Kelenic remains with the Braves.
Fletcher, 29, split this past season between Triple-A and the majors, batting .259/.296/.327 in the big leagues the last three seasons. He has a very good glove, however, and can step right into the utility infielder's role. The Braves traded Nicky Lopez, their erstwhile utility infielder, to the Chicago White Sox in the Aaron Bummer trade last month.
As for Stassi, the 32-year-old did not play in 2023, first due to injury and then due to a medical situation with his family. The Braves already have two premium catchers in All-Star Sean Murphy and overqualified backup Travis d'Arnaud. They could look to flip Stassi elsewhere with the free-agent market being so thin on catchers.
For the Angels, the trade is essentially a salary dump. White has not been healthy and productive in the same season since 2018 and is unlikely to unseat top prospect Nolan Schanuel at first base. Thomas, 27, began 2023 in an independent league. The Braves took him from the New York Mets in the minor league phase of .
Here are the financials (Thomas is on a minor-league contract):
$1.5 million buyout
$2 million buyout
The Angels save $6 million in 2024 but take on an additional $1 million in 2025 and $500,000 in 2026, so their net savings are $4.5 million. They also free up two roster spots, potentially for infielder Kyren Paris and catcher Matt Thaiss, who didn't have roles with Fletcher and Stassi on the roster. White is not on the 40-man roster and is likely to be assigned to Triple-A.
A little more than one full month into the offseason, Atlanta has acquired Bummer, Fletcher, Kelenic, and Stassi, signed Reynaldo López, and re-signed Joe Jimenez and Pierce Johnson. They were reportedly in the mix for Aaron Nola and Sonny Gray before they signed elsewhere. A starting pitcher is presumably the No. 1 item on their remaining to-do list.
The Braves had baseball's best record at 104-58 this past season, though they were eliminated by Nola and Philadelphia Phillies in four games in the Division Series. The Angels went 73-89 and missed the postseason for the ninth straight year. They are likely to lose Shohei Ohtani .