Braves acquire Fletcher and Stassi from Angels in money juggling move

The Atlanta Braves announced they have acquired outfielder David Fletcher and Max Stassi from the Los Angeles Angels for first baseman Evan White and left-handed reliever Tyler Thomas on Friday, continuing their cash-matching efforts in the wake of the previous trade.

At the start of the winter meetings, Atlanta dealt outfielder Jared Kelenic and a pair of higher-paid players: White and pitcher Marco Gonzalez. During the meetings, the Braves moved Gonzalez and his $12 million salary to Pittsburgh as well as cash for a player to be named later.

White, who owes $17 million for the remaining two guaranteed seasons and buyout on his contract, was the last to move — and unlikely to be the last. Stassi will almost certainly be traded as well, sources said, as Atlanta already boasts a pair of catchers (Sean Murphy and Travis d’Arnaud) and owes Stassi $7 million in 2024.

Fletcher, who is due $12.5 million over the next two seasons, will likely remain with the Braves as a utility man. The 29-year-old, who can play second base, shortstop and third base, is a contact artist, making fewer than 10% of his plate appearances during his six-year major league career. Although he doesn’t provide much power — 16 home runs in 2,180 career plate appearances — Fletcher’s versatility helps fill the gap for Atlanta, which sought a utility player to replace Nicky Lopez, who moved to the Chicago White Sox on the Braves’ roster. . Trade for Aaron Bomer.

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Stassi, 32, missed all of last season to care for his son, Jackson, who was born three months premature and weighed just 1.5 pounds. With Jackson now healthy, Stassi, who signed a three-year, $17.5 million contract extension after a breakout 2021, is expected to return and could provide a reasonable trade option with the top available free agents Gary Sanchez and Martin Maldonado.

Seattle signed White, 27, to a six-year contract guaranteeing $24 million before his major league debut, and he won a Gold Glove at first base in 2020, his rookie season. Offensive struggles led to a demotion to Triple-A early in 2021, and White has been unable to return to the major leagues since.

Thomas, 27, will join his fifth organization after jumping between the Chicago Cubs, Texans, New York Mets and Atlanta, which selected him in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft at the meetings.

In six seasons since being drafted by the Cubs out of Fresno State, Thomas was 11-15 with a 3.66 ERA in 270.2 innings with 304 strikeouts, 106 walks, and just 24 home runs allowed.

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