Days after trading expensive veteran Matt Kemp, the Atlanta Braves added 27-year-old Preston Tucker to their potential 2018 outfield mix in a minor trade with the Houston Astros on Wednesday. The Braves will send cash considerations or a player to be named back to Houston in the exchange.
Tucker, 27, slots into Atlanta’s current depth chart alongside Ender Inciarte, Nick Markakis, Lane Adams and top prospect Ronald Acuña.
The Braves made room on their 40-man roster by designating right-handed relieve Luke Jackson for assignment.
A former 7th-round pick out of the University of Florida, Tucker struggled in two big-league stints with the Astros but hit two percent above league average in Triple-A last season, slashing .250/.333/.465 with 24 home runs. In more than 2,000 career minor-league plate appearances, Atlanta’s new corner outfield option posted a .353 on-base percentage with 100 home runs. His power translated to the major-league level in Houston (17 homers, .403 slugging), though consistently reaching base proved problematic.
Jackson appeared in 43 games out of Atlanta’s bullpen last season, finishing fifth on the team in relief innings pitched. The 26-year-old, the trade return in last offseason’s Tyrell Jenkins deal with the Texas Rangers, posted a 4.63 ERA and 4.24 fielding-independent pitching in 2017.
Tucker was buried on Houston’s own depth chart by standout MLB options George Springer, Marwin Gonzalez, Josh Reddick and Jake Marisnick along with up-and-coming outfield prospects Derek Fisher and Tucker’s own brother (and former top-five pick), Kyle Tucker.