The Braves announced late Sunday afternoon that the team had come to a two-year agreement with free-agent backstop Travis d’Arnaud:
#Braves Sign C Travis d’Arnaud: pic.twitter.com/E2eCrKVobF
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) November 24, 2019
Braves fans should be familiar with d’Arnaud. He was a long-time NL East backstop with the Mets, and his brother Chase played with the Braves during their rebuild. The Mets finally gave up on Travis after a long injury history, including Tommy John Surgery. However, in his last two full seasons (2017, 2019), he has been one of the better backstops with the stick. He is also a good pitch framer.
Despite his injury history, this is a short-term deal with the best catcher left on the market. d’Arnaud will make $8 million AAV for the next two years and should demand the majority of the playing time from Tyler Flowers. This deal will allow d’Arnaud to serve as a stopgap to William Contreras or Shea Langeliers as they work their way up to the big leagues over the next couple of years. At the same time, this is a haul for a guy who was cut by the Mets early in the season. The Dodgers picked him up, and he was traded to the Rays shortly thereafter. But he certainly reestablished his value during this stint.
The Braves have been the most active team early in free agency, signing deals with Will Smith, Darren O’Day, Chris Martin, and now d’Arnaud. They aren’t blockbuster signings, but keep the Braves’ options open in the long-term and are sure to give this Braves team a boost. We will see now how they will address finding a third baseman and another starter, their two biggest remaining needs, and whether Liberty Media will significantly boost the team’s payroll in order for the team to make these moves.