The Atlanta Braves continued their aggressiveness early this offseason by signing catcher Travis d’Arnaud to a two-year contract on Sunday.
The Atlanta Braves continued to be aggressive early this offseason, as they announced Sunday that they have signed catcher Travis d’Arnaud to a two-year, $16 million contract. D’Arnaud will replace Brian McCann at catcher in 2020.
D’Arnaud, who will be 31 on Opening Day, was a nice find for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2019. After he was released by the New York Mets, he briefly went to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who then shipped him to the Rays. In 91 games, d’Arnaud batted .263 with 16 home runs, 16 doubles, and 67 RBIs.
This is the latest in a series of aggressive moves made by the Braves so far this offseason. After a disappointing first-round exit from the playoffs, they have been MLB’s most active team so far.
Atlanta signed Will Smith to a three-year deal while also re-signing Chris Martin to a two-year deal, two moves that figure to help a bullpen that struggled this past year. The d’Arnaud signing comes just a couple days after Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei indicated that the team plans to spend some money this offseason, and it looks like they aren’t messing around.
Since the Braves have been so aggressive in adding bullpen pieces and a catcher, will they continue to be aggressive in filling some of their other needs? The team has been rumored to be interested in upgrading their starting rotation, while they’re also trying to figure out who will be their third baseman in 2020. Josh Donaldson is currently a free agent; they could re-sign him or go after Anthony Rendon or Mike Moustakas.
What also remains to be seen is whether the Braves will be willing to roll the dice and part with any of their top prospects in a trade for someone like Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs.
In any case, we’ve seen during this first month of the offseason that the Atlanta Braves are not content with a status quo that saw them win 97 games in 2019. They must figure that if they’re going to win a playoff series for the first time since 2001, they have to get the jump on what has been a slow free-agent market the past couple of seasons.