Cristian Pache thankful for Braves fans’ support following trade

Former Atlanta Braves Stephen Vogt (left) and Cristian Pache, now with the Oakland Athletics, are presented their World Series rings before playing the Braves on Tuesday in Atlanta.  (Curtis Compton /

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Former Atlanta Braves Stephen Vogt (left) and Cristian Pache, now with the Oakland Athletics, are presented their World Series rings before playing the Braves on Tuesday in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton /

Cristian Pache was stunned March 14 when he was among four players traded to the A’s for All-Star first baseman Matt Olson, a seismic deal in franchise history that altered MLB’s landscape in multiple ways.

Pache, 23, was the Braves’ top outfield prospect for several seasons. He was viewed as a Gold Glove defender with developing power. Pache debuted in the 2020 season and became an important part of the team during the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers when Adam Duvall was injured in Game 1.

He homered and had four RBIs in the series, which gave the Braves confidence to open their 2021 campaign with Pache manning center field. But Pache struggled offensively and dealt with injuries. He hit .111/.152/.206 in two major-league stints.

The Braves sent him to Triple-A in mid-May and Pache didn’t return to the majors until October as a role player during the team’s World Series run. He appeared in two games during the postseason as a defensive substitute and pinch runner.

Despite his noted offensive shortcomings, Pache was still viewed as a promising prospect. He was part of the price of doing business for Olson, whom the Braves signed to an eight-year extension a day after the deal. Pache returned to Atlanta for the first time since the trade Tuesday when the A’s faced the Braves.

“I was a little bit in shock (when I was traded),” Pache said, via an interpreter, in a conversation with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday. “How could I not be? I felt sad but it was a good opportunity for me.”

Pache remains friends with his old teammates. He’s close with Braves catcher William Contreras, who’s having a breakout season. Pache talked with outfielder Ronald Acuna on Sunday before the series.

Alongside former Braves backstop Stephen Vogt, Pache received his World Series ring on the field before Tuesday’s contest. He received a hearty applause from the crowd.

“I’m very happy,” Pache said. “I’ve gotten a lot of support and love from the fans. I’m very excited to be back, see my (former) teammates and get my ring.”

Braves fans have continued showing Pache love on Twitter, where’s he’s become popular for his wholesome, politely crafted posts. Pache admitted he didn’t expect them to continue supporting him so adamantly, but he appreciates them.

“I was surprised to continue to receive that much love from the fans,” he said. “It makes me very happy.” Regarding his social media presence, he added: “I feel like I’m together with them (the fans). I love communicating with them on social media. It makes me feel like we are close.”

On the field, Pache still hasn’t found consistent offense. He’s slashed .167/.215/.235 with two homers and 12 RBIs across 52 games entering Tuesday. He’s made mechanical adjustments, including altering his swing angle and focusing on hitting the ball to center and right field, that have provided reason for encouragement.

The A’s, beginning a major rebuild, can afford patience more than the Braves team of recent years could. They’ll let Pache endure his growing pains, hoping it translates to him fulfilling his potential down the line.

“You know how hard this game is, and as a young player, the expectations that are put on you, and that you put on yourself,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “You grind and grind. You want the results so bad (you press). I think there’s some of that going on right now. He’s made some adjustments with his swing, mechanically. He’s staying with that approach even though there haven’t been a ton of results. We’ve seen a trend in the right direction, which is progress. His defensive ability.

“We’ve been asked how you gauge the confidence level (of a young player). You gauge it by the effort level. He’s in there working hard. He has a great routine now. So we’ll continue to monitor that. It’s obviously performance based, but yet we’re here developing him as well. There’s a balance to it all.”

Pache speaks well of the Braves, saying he cherished his time with the organization and the relationships he built. His old manager will always be rooting for him.

“He’s a wonderful kid,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “I hope he has a great major-league career. He’s a likeable guy. Very talented, young. He has a lot of upside, still learning. I root like heck for a kid like that.”