The Braves announced Friday that they’ve signed veteran catcher Travis d’Arnaud to a two-year, $16 million extension with an $8 million club option for 2024 that does not include a buyout:
The 32-year-old d’Arnaud took a long while to live up to his top prospect billing due to injuries — and even this year, he missed more than three months with a thumb strain — but he’s solid offensively and behind the plate, something that shouldn’t be taken for granted in an era where there aren’t too many great catchers around the league.
d’Arnaud is hitting .223/.277/.369 with three homers in 28 games this season and is coming off a stellar 2020 season in which he hit .321/.386/.533 with nine homers in 44 games.
The d’Arnaud extension seemingly delays the Braves’ transition to a homegrown catching duo of William Contreras and Shea Langeliers, and it may make the 23-year-old Contreras — who already has 48 major league games under his belt — expendable if Atlanta needs to address other areas via trade. While Contreras was a bit inconsistent during a two-month stint in the majors earlier this season, he’s thrived to the tune of a .313/.368/.583 slash line since being sent to Triple-A Gwinnett. It’s possible that he could return to the majors and replace Stephen Vogt as d’Arnaud’s backup next year — with the way Brian Snitker has historically used his catchers, he’d still figure to get a decent amount of playing time.
Langeliers, a 2019 first-rounder, has been a revelation this season, posting a .267/.346/.524 slash line with 19 homers for Double-A Mississippi. He may be more likely than Contreras to eventually inherit the bulk of the catching duties from d’Arnaud.