The Braves announced this morning that they’ve selected the contract of veteran infielder Phil Gosselin from Triple-A Gwinnett. Ozzie Albies, who suffered a fractured left foot in last night’s game, has been placed on the 60-day injured list to open a spot on the active and 40-man rosters.
It’s something of a homecoming for Gosselin, who was originally drafted by the Braves in the fifth round of the 2010 draft and made his big league debut with the team in 2013. Much has changed with the Braves since Gosselin was with the big league club from 2013-15, but he ought to be quite familiar with current manager Brian Snitker, a Braves organization lifer who has extensive experience coaching and managing throughout the Braves’ minor league system.
Gosselin returned to the Braves on a minor league deal this offseason and began the season with their Triple-A affiliate, where he’s slashed .297/.358/.473 through 204 plate appearances. He’s played more third base than any other position in the minors this year, but the Braves have also given Gosselin time at second base, first base and in the outfield corners. That’s nothing new for Gosselin, who has played every position other than catcher and pitcher in his professional career.
Since being traded from the Braves to the D-backs, Gosselin has bounced around the league and now seen time with seven teams. He’s settled in as a journeyman utility player, often filling a need but rarely sticking in any one place too long due in large part to a lack of offensive contributions. Gosselin sports a solid .261 batting average in 1122 career plate appearances, but he’s paired that with a below-average .314 on-base percentage and a very light .362 slugging percentage. For teams in need of a serviceable fill-in basically anywhere on the infield — just the situation in which the Braves currently find themselves — the 33-year-old has proven himself a fine role player.
Gosselin figures to see occasional action at second base in place of Albies, but Orlando Arcia is the likeliest option for regular work at the position while Albies mends. Acquired from the Brewers early in the 2021 campaign, Arcia is out to a .313/.393/.458 start in a small sample of 56 plate appearances this year. The former top prospect has a much more tepid .244/.296/.366 batting line in his overall big league career, however, so fans shouldn’t expect Arcia to continue hitting anywhere near that torrid pace.
Depending on Albies’ outlook and whether surgery is required, it’s possible the Braves could look to the trade market to add a more clear-cut starting option. If, however, Albies is expected back by season’s end, the Braves could opt for a piecemeal approach to their newfound second base shortage. Albies will technically be eligible to return on Aug. 13, but as of yet, the Braves have provided neither an update on how the injury will be treated nor on when Albies can be expected to return.