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Posted: Monday, Nov. 12 at 8:00 a.m. ET
With catcher Brian McCann likely to still be recovering from shoulder surgery at the beginning of next season, re-signing backup catcher David Ross was an important item on the Atlanta Braves' offseason to-do list.
Scratch Ross off the list.
The catcher signed a two-year, $6.2 million contract with the Boston Red Sox on Saturday (Nov. 10). According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien, the Braves didn't want to give Ross more than a one-year contract or double his $1.625 million salary from this year.
Ross hit .256 with a .770 OPS, nine home runs and 23 RBI in 62 games this season. Defensively, he threw out 15-of-34 basestealers while allowing 20 wild pitches and four passed balls.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe speculates that Ross could platoon with Jarrod Saltalamacchia in Boston. He could also back up Ryan Lavarnway at catcher while Saltamacchia moves over to first base.
But where do the Braves go from here?
O'Brien says Double-A catcher Christian Bethancourt is a possibility. This season, he hit .243 with a .566 OPS in 288 plate appearances. That seems to indicate he could use at least another full year of playing time in the minors, rather than get limited time as a backup in the major leagues.
Evan Gattis, who rose from rookie league to Double-A Mississippi this year, is another option for Atlanta. Overall, he hit .305 with a .995, 18 home runs with 67 RBI. According to O'Brien. the Braves love his power and were working him in left field, hoping that would accelerate his path to the majors.
Looking at the list of free-agent catchers, Braves general manager Frank Wren shouldn't have any trouble finding a new backup. Gerald Laird, Kelly Shoppach and Matt Treanor are among the available names.
But Atlanta knew what it had with Ross. Losing him is a pretty big blow for the Braves early in the offseason.