Braves sign Travis d’Arnaud
Atlanta has been easily the most active team early in this offseason. They haven’t made a move nearly as splashy as the White Sox signing Yasmani Grandal, but they have added a couple key pieces in free agency while also bringing a couple more back. After focusing mostly on the bullpen early with Will Smith, Darren O’Day and Chris Martin, they shifted focus behind the plate on Sunday. Grandal was far and away the best catcher on the market this winter, so Atlanta would settle for number two. They have agreed to a two-year deal with Travis d’Arnaud worth a total of $16 million. d’Arnaud has spent the majority of his career with the Mets, having suffered through some major injury issues there that eventually caused them to move him to Los Angeles. After five minutes with the Dodgers he headed to Tampa Bay, where he thrived.
The talent is there for d’Arnaud to be a very solid starting catcher, but the injury questions certainly haven’t disappeared. The Braves do have Tyler Flowers, one of the best pitch framers in the game, to pair with d’Arnaud, so he shouldn’t need to play every day. There’s certainly some risk here given d’Arnaud’s injury history as well as the fact that he’s coming off just one good half-season, but the upside at a position that is hard to fill is impossible to pass up for Atlanta.
One other part of this I wanted to touch on is how it was reported to the public. I recognize this is not something a ton of people care about, and it’s never really been something I’ve paid a ton of attention to. That said, all of the free agent signings so far this year have been reported via team announcement. Some reporters did break qualifying offer decisions, but the negotiated contracts — including José Abreu’s extension — haven’t leaked. It should be noted that only two teams have been active in free agency so far so this could just be two organizations keeping their mouths shut. It’s something I’m going to be watching, though, and if you’re interested in the world of reporting it’s something to keep an eye on for you as well.
Sox Spin: Goodbye, Travis d’Arnaud. The catcher had a very, very solid run with the Rays and if it feels like most of that came against the Red Sox you would not be entirely mistaken. The former Met absolutely dominated Boston this past year, with a 1.084 OPS against the Sox in 2019. I am not sad he is out of the AL East.