The Braves are positioning themselves to carry three catchers for another season.
They acquired Ryan Doumit from the Twins in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Sean Gilmartin, adding to a position where Atlanta already has Evan Gattis and Gerald Laird.
Doumit, 32, is a .268 career hitter with 99 home runs and 396 RBI in 880 games and owns a .262 average (28 for 107) as a pinch hitter. He appeared in 135 games last season, hitting .237/.314/.396 with 55 RBI and 14 HRs.
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It’s an unexpected move given that the Braves — who lost seven-time All-Star Brian McCann to the Yankees in free agency — have a highly-regarded catching prospect in the minors in Christian Bethancourt.
This move, at least on the surface, would seem to block Bethancourt’s ability to earn a spot on the big-league roster this spring. But Doumit does bring some versatility, having made 502 starts at catcher, 89 in right field, 32 at first base and 16 in left field. He also fits Atlanta’s need for a veteran bat off the bench to replace Reed Johnson, whose option the team declined.
Gilmartin, 23, was a first-round draft pick out of Florida State in 2011. Rated as Atlanta’s No. 10 prospect heading into the ’14 season, Gilmartin went a combined 12-20 with a 4.23 ERA in 53 minute league starts in the last three years.