Christian Bethancourt is credited with being a defensive specialist at catcher, and it's understandable. He has arm strength matched by maybe one or two in the major leagues, and he has the athleticism to be a force behind the plate.
When the Padres were first linked to the Braves in Justin Upton negotiations, the expected centerpiece was either Austin Hedges, Matt Wisler or Max Fried. Since then, we've come to realize how hard teams are balking at one-year players.
The Braves traded Upton on Friday for Fried, Jace Peterson, Dustin Peterson and Mallex Smith.
It was obvious something had to be done about Mike Minor when he gave up five runs, including two home runs, to the Padres in San Diego on Aug. 1.
Suggestions ranged from skipping his rotation start to demoting him. In the end, the Braves skipped his spot, and he came back Aug. 12 against the Dodgers in Atlanta, allowing three runs with seven strikeouts in 6.2 innings. He followed that with two runs on three hits with seven strikeouts against the Athletics the next time out, resulting in two of his better season starts against two of the better teams in baseball.
As has been the case throughout the off-season so far, rumors circulated during the winter meetings this week about the Braves possibly trading Justin Upton and/or Evan Gattis.
Neither happened over the four days as teams filter out of San Diego on Thursday, but the way the week progressed shows how the Braves are approaching the situation.
When the Braves hired Kevin Seitzer as the team's new hitting coach in October, it set an early tone for the direction Atlanta intends to go offensively.
The Braves are only a few moves into an off-season expected to be full of decisions, but the two early offensive additions already spell a trend that seemed to be born at Seitzer's hiring.
Step by step, the Braves are laying out a plan to restructure their organization. The latest move came Wednesday night when they signed Nick Markakis to a four-year contract worth $44 million.
There has been a general thought that the Braves would trade either or both of Justin Upton and Evan Gattis this off-season. Signing Markakis and slotting him in right field assures at least one will be dealt. The chance remains that both could be on different teams this coming spring.
The Braves did not tender a contract to Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy or Gus Schlosser on Tuesday, making all three free agents.
Non-tendering Medlen and Beachy was seen as a possibility, because both are trying to return from a second Tommy John surgery. Neither will be ready until May at the very earliest, with a likely outcome being June to the All-Star break.
The non-tender deadline is Tuesday at 11:59 p.m., meaning the Braves have little time to decide what to do with two notable pitchers in unique situations.
Kris Medlen made $5.8 million in 2014 and is projected to earn the same next season if tendered a contract, because the right-hander failed to take the mound thanks to Tommy John surgery. Brandon Beachy made $1.45 million in 2014 and should make around $1.5 million if tendered, because he also underwent the surgery.