Braves rumors: Yamamoto pipe dream, Kelenic's fresh start, Fletcher's role

Could the Atlanta Braves be a dark horse for Yoshinobu Yamamoto? Jarred Kelenic is excited for his fresh start. David Fletcher's role with the big-league team is clear.

Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves
Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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Braves Rumors: David Fletcher's role with Atlanta is clear

There's no secret as to what David Fletcher's role with the Atlanta Braves will be. Per David O'Brien of The Athletic, the Braves view Fletcher, who was recently acquired from the Los Angeles Angels, as a utility infielder. Atlanta has parted ways with Nicky Lopez, so there is a need in the dugout as a bench defender.

Fletcher was outrighted to the minor leagues when he was acquired by Atlanta, but fans shouldn't take that at face value. Alex Anthopoulos knew that no team would claim Fletcher and his $14 million salary for 2023, which is why he was able to slide through waivers.

Fletcher is in the middle of a five-year contract he signed with the Angels after the 2019-20 campaign, a breakout season for him. MLB Trade Rumors highlighted that Fletcher can play three infield positions well defensively -- second base, shortstop and third base -- but he leaves a lot to be desired at the plate.

"He’s since floundered at the dish, however, batting just .259/.296/.327 in 990 plate appearances. Fletcher’s bat-to-ball skills have actually improved (8.6% strikeout rate), but his quality of contact has plummeted and rendered him an unimpactful player in the batter’s box," wrote Steve Adams.

Anthopoulos and Brian Snitker will lean on Fletcher as a player they can trust defensively, which is more than they can say about Vaughn Grissom, perhaps their best remaining infield option.