The Braves and third baseman Phillip Evans are in agreement on a minor league deal, according to the transactions tracker on Evans’ MLB.com player profile. Details of the deal are not known, but it’s likely that the deal comes with an invite to big league Spring Training.
Evans, a former 15th-round pick by the Mets who made his MLB debut back in 2017, hit fairly well over three short stints in the big leagues between Queens and Pittsburgh during the 2017, ’18, and ’20 seasons with a .290/.377/.366 slash line in 106 combined trips to the plate. That led Evans to get his first long-term role in the majors during the 2021 season, but the utilityman struggled to a slash line of just .206/.312/.299 in 247 plate appearances across 76 games. Those struggles led the Pirates to release Evans at the end of the season.
The utility man went on to sign with the Yankees on a minor league deal, but struggled in 400 trips to the plate for the club at the Triple-A level and didn’t reach the majors at all during the 2022 campaign. Evans also didn’t appear in the majors after signing with the Diamondbacks on a minor league pact last offseason. While he hit a seemingly strong .312/.424/.439 in 590 Triple-A trips to the plate last season, the inflated offensive environment of the Pacific Coast League, which Arizona’s Triple-A affiliate plays in, means that performance was good for a wRC+ of just 117.
Even so, that respectable offensive performance combined with exceptional versatility that has seen him make at least one professional appearance at every position on the diamond except for center field throughout his professional career makes Evans among the more interesting depth pieces to be had on a minor league deal. The Braves boast one of the deepest positional groups in the majors, meaning that even if Evans were to beat out the likes of David Fletcher or Forrest Wall for a spot on the club’s Opening Day roster, it’s unlikely he’d see consistent playing time barring a significant injury to a member of the starting lineup. Nonetheless, the 31-year-old will likely get the opportunity to do just that this spring along with other non-roster depth options like Leury Garcia and Andrew Velazaquez.