Adam Duvall’s inability to look anything close to a productive player over his 33 games in Atlanta had many wondering if the Braves would even bother bringing him back. They chose to and reached a one-year agreement worth $2.875 million to avoid arbitration. Although, Duvall’s contract is not guaranteed until Opening Day, giving the Braves seven more days to decide on his future before having to pay his salary.
After hitting an abysmal .132 in 57 plate appearances with the Braves in 2018, Duvall has not shown any signs of improvement during spring training. In 37 at-bats, he only has five hits (.135 average) with a .273 OBP. He does have two home runs, both coming in the same game, but that should not be enough to warrant keeping him on the roster, even if he costs less than $3 million.
On the topic, David O’Brien of the Athletic tweeted this out on Wednesday:
Sounds like Duvall's status is tenuous at best. If another outfielder gets released or otherwise becomes available in the next few days, wouldn't be a surprise if the #Braves replace Duvall.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) March 20, 2019
One of the weakest parts of the Braves a year ago was their lack of outfield power and depth. Duvall was supposed to be the answer to that. He fooled them once in the second half of last season. But as the old saying goes, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Moving a few lower-tier prospects for Duvall was not going to upset the fan base, doubling-down on an egregious investment will.
Assuming the Braves choose to let Duvall walk, it leaves them less than a week to find a reasonable replacement. There is the potential of Johan Camargo spending some time in the outfield, but that doesn’t change their lack of pop off the bench. Alex Anthopoulos had all offseason to upgrade at the position, and the team is supposedly nowhere near the top of their payroll. I’ve been lenient on the Braves lack of acquisitions this offseason, but right now, this is not a good look for AA and Company.