Ender hasn’t received much love from Braves Country over the past few seasons — a severe drop-off in offensive production will do that to a player. Last year, Inciarte posted just a .512 OPS in 46 games, making him one of the worst hitters in all of baseball. Now, we know Ender isn’t THAT bad with the stick. Look no further than his 2017 All-Star campaign in which he hit .304. However, we also know that he is no longer the centerfielder of the future. That title belongs to Cristian Pache.
For a player like Inciarte, who has had plenty of success at the big-league level, it would be very easy to sour over the idea of a freshly turned 22-year-old taking his job. However, according to Pache, that hasn’t been the case. He told the media today that Inciarte has been extremely helpful in his development and is always willing to lend a helping hand.
#Braves Cristian Pache said Ender Inciarte has been incredibly gracious with his time every year. He said he's truly appreciative of Ender's willingness as a Gold Glove winner to work with him, answer questions and help him improve.
— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) February 24, 2021
This is generally why parting ways with players is bitter sweet. Sure, Inciarte’s play has hamstrung the Braves in recent years, but he’s been nothing but a great teammate, ignoring all the negativity fans have shown him over the past two seasons. As former Braves reliever Eric O’Flaherty said in a tweet today, only the best teammates help someone that is primed to take their job.
Helping somebody take your job. Only the best teammates do stuff like this. https://t.co/J0miKTeHYn
— Eric O’Flaherty (@EOF34) February 24, 2021
It’s fantastic to see that these two guys have such a great relationship, and Pache would be wise to soak up as much information as he can from Inciarte. After all, there was a three-year period not too long ago when Inciarte was regarded as the best defensive centerfielder in all of baseball — a title many believe Pache will hold sooner rather than later.