An early look at Braves’ potential free agents: Catchers

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Our third most pressing area of concern for the Braves this offseason is the catcher’s spot. If you missed our top five needs heading into 2020, click here. With Brian McCann retiring following Game 5 of the NLDS, a club option left on the final year of Tyler Flowers’ contract, and Francisco Cervelli set to test the open market – decisions will have to be made behind the plate. Will the Braves continue to throw out a two-man platoon or attempt to find some more stability at the position for the first time in years?


Yasmani Grandal

We will see if Grandal becomes a free agent. He has a mutual option for $16 million in 2020. I’m guessing the Brewers would love to keep him for that after he smashed 28 homers with a .848 OPS, but Grandal could want to get some years added to his deal and test the open market. If he does, there will be plenty of potential suitors, with the Braves being among them.

Reliable Platoon Options

Robinson Chirinos

Chirinos is having the best year on this list, posting 17 bombs a .790 OPS and a 3.8 bWAR in just 114 games for the Astros. At 36, he could be the perfect stopgap in Atlanta while the Braves groom their young prospects.

Travis D’Ardnaud

Braves’ fans will recognize this last name because his brother Chase played in Atlanta. Well, Travis has carved out an above-average career as a catcher. In 92 games for the Rays last season, he hit .263 with 16 bombs.

Alex Avila

Avila doesn’t hit for much average (.207) but gets on at a more than respectable .357 clip and posesses some pop from the left side.

Yan Gomes

Yan Gomes has seen better years, particularly when he was an All-Star in 2018 with the Indians, but he was still serviceable for the Nationals in a platoon with Kurt Suzuki. With a $9 million club option for next year, I’d imagine the Nats will exercise that, but if they don’t, the Braves would probably come calling.

Jason Castro

Castro hit 13 homers with a .747 OPS in 79 games for the Twins this past season. He’s a left-handed bat that could platoon well with Flowers or Francisco Cervelli.

Jonathan Lucroy

Lucroy is a name you’ve probably heard of. He was an All-Star and hot commodity in 2016. But since, he’s done nothing but underachieve and had a bWAR of -1.0 in 2019 with the Angels and Cubs.

Francisco Cervelli

Cervelli only played in 14 games for the Braves but had an OPS of 1.066 over that span. Atlanta will probably look to keep either one of Flowers or Cervelli for 2020, but they could opt to roll with both.

Tyler Flowers

Flowers has a $6 million option for 2019. His -0.1 bWAR would suggest good riddance, but his fWAR of 2.1 would advise the Braves to hold onto the veteran backstop. Which one do you think Alex Anthopoulos values more?

Matt Wieters

Wieters is a switching hitting catcher out of Georgia Tech. The four-time All-Star has been linked to Atlanta a lot over his career. Maybe, this is the time he finally decides to come home. In 67 games, he hit 11 homers with a .702 OPS.


While adding Yasmani Grandal would be a slight upgrade, I’m not sure it moves the needle enough for Anthopoulos to whip out his checkbook and sign him to a multi-year deal. The Braves have a trio of catching prospects that could be ready for the bigs in the next two seasons, so I’m expecting them to hold onto to either Tyler Flowers or Francisco Cervelli and play the platoon game for one more year. My gut says it will be Flowers since he has a $6 million option with a $2 million buyout and is familiar with Atlanta’s young pitching staff. As you can see, there are plenty of available free agents they could pair him with. I’d look for the Braves to bring in a left-handed bat or switch hitter, but it isn’t a must, as we’ve seen with Kurt Suzuki in the past.


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