Gattis played mostly the outfield in 2013. This was certainly a position he had difficulty adjusting to. Primarily a catcher, he was expected to have the best opportunity to take over for McCann in 2014. The trade for Doumit comes with several questions. Is Doumit now in Atlanta to be the everyday catcher? Did the Braves not believe Gattis could be a regular catcher? Most importantly, do they think Doumit, who has battled injuries at times of his career, can be an everyday catcher while going from splitting time between catching and DH in 2012 to being primarily a DH in 2013, playing almost as many games as an outfielder (33) as he did behind the plate (43)? And finally, (though this does not concern the Braves) after the Twins announced that All Star catcher Joe Mauer would be the regular 1B for the team in 2014, what possessed the Twins to trade Doumit when they clearly have an opening when it comes to their own starting catcher?
At the very least, the trade for Doumit gives the Braves some options. Doumit has caught, played 1B and the outfield, which at the very least makes him a valuable utility player. Though 2013 was a down year for Ryan; he hit just .247, 14, 55 in 135 games, he has always hit RHP as well as LHP, making him not just a platoon player. Gattis, as a rookie, finished 7th in the NL ROY voting and hit .243, 21, 65 in 105 games, which included a .480 slugging percentage.
If you want to look at the doubts of both players as catchers right now, neither will profile to be the everyday catcher. Perhaps the Braves will use both, with the hopes that one of them will become the main guy. Remember, veteran Gerald Laird is signed through 2014, making him the likely backup catcher. The fact that Laird has always been a very good defensive catcher makes it a wise decision to keep him. However, after watching Gattis play the OF last season, it would be figured that a reasonable conclusion would have been to play more games as catcher. Though Doumit is no GG OF, he has shown the ability to do an adequate enough job to be trusted. I do not feel the same way about Gattis as an OF.
I would still start Gattis as catcher, with Laird as the backup. This way Laird can be an option as a late inning defensive replacement. This is what makes the acquisition of Doumit interesting. To me, Doumit looks more comfortable playing the OF and may be a role player on this Atlanta team.
It is unlikely the case, as it would be interesting to see why the Braves acquired a player who has primarily been a catcher until recently to not catch. Odds are, Doumit was brought in to be the starting catcher. So what does that mean for Gattis? The Braves outfield seems to start the same way it did in 2013, with Justin Upton, BJ Upton and Jason Heyward. Freddie Freeman is at 1B. It would then force either Gattis or Doumit to be a backup- role type player. Though I would Gattis, it is likely the Braves were not sold on his performance last season. And going with Doumit as their starting catcher is proof that the Braves are not high enough on Gattis to trust him to be the starter.