Braves acquire Fletcher, Stassi from Angels in money-juggling move

The Atlanta Braves obtained infielder David Fletcher and catcher Max Stassi from the Los Angeles Angels for first baseman Evan White and left-handed reliever Tyler Thomas on Friday, the team revealed, continuing a money-juggling effort in the wake of a previous trade.

At the starting of the winter meetings, Atlanta dealt for outfielder Jarred Kelenic and a pair of higher-paid players: White and pitcher Marco Gonzales. During the meetings, the Braves flipped Gonzales and his $12 million salary to Pittsburgh along with cash in exchange for a player to be named later.

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

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Fletcher, who is due $12.5 million over the next two seasons, is likely to remain with the Braves as a utilityman.

The 29-year-old, who can play second base, shortstop and third base, is a contact artist, striking out in fewer than 10% of his plate appearances over his six-year major league career.

While he doesn’t provide much power — 16 home runs in 2,180 career plate appearances — Fletcher’s versatility help fills a hole in Atlanta, which sought a utility player to replace Nicky Lopez, who moved to the Chicago White Sox in the Braves’ trade for Aaron Bummer.

Stassi, 32, missed all of last season taking care of 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 2021 breakout, is expected to return and could provide a reasonable trade option with the top available free agent catchers Gary Sanchez and Martin Maldonado.

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

Thomas, 27, will join his fifth organization after bouncing among the Chicago Cubs, Texas, the 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 is 11-15 with a 3.66 ERA in 270.2 innings with 304 strikeouts, 106 walks and just 24 home runs permitted.

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