The Atlanta Braves announced on Friday that they have signed catcher Travis d’Arnaud to a contract extension. The deal is for two years and is worth $16 million, with an $8 million option for the 2024 season. d’Arnaud has experienced an injury plagued 2021, however he has made a return in recent days. Overall, he’s hitting .221 with three homers, 15 RBI, 23 hits, and a .646 OPS in 28 games this season. Since his activation from the injured list, he’s batting .238 (5-for-21) with a homer, four RBI, and an .836 OPS. He’s also striking out at a clip of nearly 29%. It may have been a rough stretch lately, but he still has time to turn things around.
The Career of Travis d’Arnaud
Travis d’Arnaud was a first round selection of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007. After bouncing around the minors, he finally made his major league debut with the New York Mets in 2013. In 2014, he finished seventh in NL Rookie of the Year voting after batting .242 with 13 homers and 41 RBI in 108 games. He improved his average to .268 the following season. In 2017, set a career mark for homers (16). His time with the Mets ended in 2019, after a dismal .087 (2-for-23) start at the plate. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers and appeared in one game before being traded again. The Tampa Bay Rays picked him up, and he matched his career mark in homers. He also hit .263 with a .782 OPS and a 109 OPS+.
The Braves signed him out of free agency before 2020 and he has paid dividends. During the short season, d’Arnaud hit .321 with nine homers and 34 RBI. He also posted a .919 OPS and a 137 OPS+, both career bests. In the process, he won a Silver Slugger award and was a valuable part of the playoff offense. During the NLDS with the Miami Marlins, he hit .600 (6-for-10) with two homers and seven RBI. Currently, he could be considered one of the better catchers in the game. True, others like Yadier Molina and J.T. Realmuto may still have his number. However, he could rank with Willson Contreras and Mike Zunino as one of the better catchers in the game. While 2021 may not have gone his way, the Braves are hoping that the ensuing two years will.
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