The Atlanta Braves have signed free agent catcher Travis d'Arnaud to a two-year, $16 million deal, the team announced Sunday.
After spending the first six years of his MLB career with the New York Mets, d'Arnaud spent the majority of the 2020 season with the Tampa Bay Rays. A rough start at the plate led to his release from the Mets. He was picked up by the Dodgers, where he played one game, before he was left go again before he went to the Rays on May 10. Then, it all turned around for d'Arnaud, who ended up contributing to Tampa Bay's postseason run with a .263 batting average, 16 home runs and 67 RBI.
Entering the offseason, d'Arnaud was the second best catcher, and No. 30 overall player, on Sports Illustrated's list of the top 50 free agents.
The move by Atlanta comes after veteran catcher Brian McCann announced his retirement at the end of the 2020 season. In addition to d'Arnaud, 30, the Braves also re-signed catcher Tyler Flowers on a one-year deal this offseason. Atlanta platooned its catchers last year, with McCann, a lefthanded hitter, starting mostly against righties and Flowers, a righty, facings the lefties. Flowers, however, performed much better against righthanded pitchers (.817 OPS) than he did lefties. Enter d'Arnaud, who posted an .886 OPS against southpaws last season, allows the Braves to platoon again with their backstops, but giving Flowers the more favorable matchup for him.
In what was expected to be another stagnant offseason, d'Arnaud's signing is the latest move for the busy Braves in the first few weeks of free agency. So far, Atlanta has signed closer Will Smith to a three-year, $40 million deal, along with re-signing relievers Chris Martin for two years, $14 million and Darren O'Day for one year and $2.25 million. Outfielder Nick Markakis also re-signed on a one-year deal.
In his seven-year career, d'Arnaud has a .246 batting average along with 63 home runs and 231 RBI.