MLB trade grades: Braves add more Vaughn Grissom competition in latest AA maneuver

The Atlanta Braves acquired David Fletcher and Max Stassi in a trade with Ron Washington's Los Angeles Angels.

David Fletcher, Los Angeles Angels
David Fletcher, Los Angeles Angels / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Alex Anthopoulos and the Atlanta Braves have been busier than most this offseason, hammering the trade market in search of marginal upgrades while positioning themselves for a major splash somewhere down the line.

The latest trade involves Ron Washington's new team, the Los Angeles Angels. Atlanta is sending first baseman Evan White and left-handed pitcher Tyler Thomas to the Angels in exchange for infielder David Fletcher and catcher Max Stassi, per ESPN's Jeff Passan.

It's clear not every team is waiting for Shohei Ohtani to make a decision. The Braves have been loosely associated with Ohtani and other big-ticket free agents, but the expectation is that Anthopoulos will instead traffic in smaller improvements.

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Grading Braves-Angels trade centered on David Fletcher, Max Stassi, Evan White

The Braves add a veteran infielder in Fletcher, who is due $6.5 million in 2025 — the final guaranteed year of his contract. Fletcher spent most of last season at second base, but he's capable of switching to shortstop or third base as needed.

Fletcher's role with the Braves in obviously a bit murky. He will operate as a depth piece behind Orlando Arcia, Ozzie Albies, and Austin Riley. Notably, he's another infield option in competition with Vaughn Grissom.

As the Braves try to figure out how to work Grissom into the lineup, a left field platoon with Jarred Kelenic appears increasingly likely. Grissom is a natural infielder, but stints at both short and second last season ended in disaster. He committed far too many errors — six in 19 appearances at shortstop — and Brian Snitker never trusted Grissom enough for a long leash.

Fletcher is limited. He doesn't provide near the offensive punch that Grissom does. He slashed .247/.302/.326 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 89 ABs in 2023.

Max Stassi is due $7 million in 2024 before hitting free agency the following offseason, unless the Braves exercise a club option. That said, Atlanta probably won't cling tightly to Stassi, who missed all of last season with an injury and a personal matter. The Braves already have Sean Murphy and Travis d'Arnaud at catcher, so Atlanta will probably flip Stassi, according to Passan.

The Angels are getting a couple minor leaguers back. Evan White, 27, hasn't played in the MLB since 2021, when he slashed .144/.202/.237 in 97 ABs for the Seattle Mariners. Tyler Thomas, 27, is a career minor-league pitcher who posted a 2.86 ERA and 1.212 WHIP in 24 appearances (34.2 innings) between Double-A and Triple-A last season.

In the end, Atlanta is essentially replacing Nicky Lopez and adding more trade ammo. The Angels are dumping contracts and adding some farm system fodder.

Braves trade grade: B

Angels trade grade: C+

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