Padres Stacking Catchers with Betancourt Addition.

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Per the San Diego Padres official website, they have traded former top prospect P Casey Kelly for another former top prospect for the Atlanta Braves, C Christian Bethancourt.

Casey Kelly was the Boston Red Sox top pick in 2008, and was acquired by San Diego in 2010 along with Anthony Rizzo in the Adrian Gonzalez trade. Kelly was the Padres top prospect for some time, but has unfortunately dealt with numerous injuries that have left him with minimal playing time.

The Atlanta Braves had high hopes for Christian Bethancourt but they have given up on the young catcher after two below average seasons in the majors. Betancourt only appeared in 80 professional games the last two season, posting a .219 batting average in 269 at bats. He only hit 2 homers in those at bats and struck out 60 times.

The move is interesting considering the Padres have already signed catcher Josmil Pinto this offseason and they got a pretty solid season both offensively and defensively out of Derek Norris. Furthermore, their top prospect is Austin Hedges who officially had his rookie season last year.

The move suggests that Andy Green and AJ Preller may demote Hedges back to the minors to get him more seasoned. He is highly regarded for his elite defensive skills at the catcher position, but had failed dramatically to impress at the plate. Hedges batted a measly .168/.215/.248 in 137 at bats in his rookie season.

San Diego may simply be loading up at catcher temporarily, preparing for a trade later this offseason.


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