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Braves daily news digest 12/23: Is Evan Gattis next to be traded?

With Justin Upton now in San Diego, there's one more big trade chip that the Braves have left on their roster. Could El Oso Blanco be the next Brave headed out of town?

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images


Braves Could Gain Further Flexibility With Trade Of Gattis

After the Braves jumpstarted their rebuilding effort by gaining a prospect haul from the Padres in exchange for Justin Upton, Atlanta now has a bit more financial flexibility for the future, to the tune of around $20 MM should they go for John Hart's stated goal of a $100-110 MM payroll. They could have even more if they can pull off another big trade, this time for catcher-turned-left fielder Evan Gattis. Here's Mark Bowman's thoughts on a potential return for El Oso Blanco:

Though Gattis might not be deemed as valuable as Heyward and Upton, the fact that potential suitors could control him for the next four years provides reason to believe he might garner a return that rivals those gained for the two corner outfielders who have already been traded.

Considering that they were only able to offer one year of Heyward and Upton, the Braves should be very happy with the returns, which netted them a potential frontline starter (Shelby Miller), their latest top pitching prospect (Max Fried) and three other players (Tyrell Jenkins, Dustin Peterson and Mallex Smith) who might all rank among their Top 10 Prospects by the end of this upcoming season.

Now That The Braves Have Money What Are They Gonna Do With It?

That's the question that Heavy D and The Boyz asked way back when, and now hopefully the Braves will address it. As stated under the previous headline, the Braves have about $20 MM to play with for this offseason, and although they can't exactly go after a marquee name with that type of money (nor would they want to considering the mode that they're in right now), there were two names that our friends over at Tomahawk Take suggested the Braves could possibly go after: James Shields and Nori Aoki.

So: Who Won The Upton-Prado Trade After All?

On Friday, Justin Upton and Martin Prado were both traded on the same day. This is now the 2nd time that this has happened, but the 1st time it happened, they were the centerpieces of a trade between the Braves and Diamondbacks. Now, both players have moved on, and now Fox Sports Arizona is trying to figure out who "won" the deal now that both players are in different cities now.


Pirates Win Right To Negotiate With Jung-Ho Kang

Here's a phrase that you don't hear everyday: The Pittsburgh Pirates won a bidding war! The Pirates posted a $5 MM bid for the right to negotiate with Korean slugger Jung-Ho Kang, and it ended up being the top bid and now the Pirates will have 30 days to hash out a deal with Kang. The 28-year old infielder had an astronomical slash line of .356/.459/.739 in the offensively-inclined Korean league, but the low bid seems to indicate that the Pirates don't think that they're signing an absolute prodigy here, as Bucs Dugout explains:

The question is how the Pirates see Kang. He plays shortstop in Korea, but there isn't widespread agreement among scouts about where he ought to play at the big-league level. That's notable for the Pirates, who are famously fastidious about their infield defense. Keith Law (Insider-only) notes that Kang isn't fast for a shortstop, but he has good hands and a very good arm. Perhaps a move to third is in his future. That would make sense for the Pirates, given Josh Harrison's ability to play elsewhere -- maybe Kang is the excuse the Pirates need to move Harrison to second and Neil Walker to first, as some Pirates fans have already suggested. That probably won't happen next year, but perhaps it could in 2016.

Then again, maybe Kang isn't a starting player at all, given the relatively low price the Bucs are paying. There also isn't a ton of precedent for KBO hitters having success in the U.S., which doesn't mean that it can't happen, just that Kang is a question mark. (As Jeff Sullivan notes, Hee-Seop Choi and Shin-Soo Choo were both developed in the U.S., not in the KBO.) Even the Pirates probably see Kang as a gamble, but all things considered, I can't argue with a gamble on a 27-year-old infielder with eye-opening power.

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