Atlanta Braves Ink Travis d’Arnaud
Following the signing of Yasmani Grandal to the Chicago White Sox there were plenty of question marks surrounding teams who needed a catcher. Among the many teams left with questions after failing to snag Grandal was the Atlanta Braves. That is until recently when the Braves inked a two-year $16 million with veteran catcher Travis d’Arnaud.
A Bounceback Year
It was a resurgent year for the seven-year veteran. He delivered his second-best batting average of .251 with an on-base mark of .312 while slugging .433. His 16 home runs, which tied a career-best, showcased his overall power at the plate.
It was a turbulent start that began with a 2-for-23 slump to begin the year with the New York Mets. After being dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a brief stint, d’Arnaud found his way onto the Tampa Bay Rays roster. From there he proceeded to touch up the best batting mark he’s had with a single team, a .263 average with 67 runs batted in. His efforts resulted in a mark of 107wRC+ and a WAR of 1.8 across 92 games and over 360 plate appearances.
d’Arnaud also showcased a strong mark from the field posting an above league average in runners thrown out (28 percent).
The signing comes as a win-win for both parties involved. Ultimately, it’s a low-risk move for the Braves even though they have to pony up eight million in average annual value. It’s rather easy for Atlanta to pay that money after looking at the available quality catchers left on the table. That includes now-former Brave Francisco Cervelli, Robinson Chirinos, Yan Gomes, and Alex Avila.
Overall, the payroll for the Atlanta Braves will likely sit around $115 million or more. That’s even with the signings of Will Smith for $40 million over three-years along with Darren O’Day and Chris Martin. d’Arnaud will likely serve as the mainstay behind the plate with Brian McCann retiring and will serve as a nice pairing with Tyler Flowers.
The signing still gives Atlanta space to sign another big-name free agent as the off-season progresses.