The Braves continue their effort to prop up the entire free agent market, with yet another signing – this time, inking catching Travis d’Arnaud to a two-year, $16 million deal.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) November 24, 2019
In a catching class that is deep in usable guys but thin in even borderline starters, the Braves leapt on d’Arnaud after the White Sox took Yasmani Grandal off the market. And d’Arnaud, as only a borderline starter, gets a whopping $8 million per year – yeah, I’d say the market is pretty darn catching-starved.
It’s all the more reason the Cubs would consider shopping Willson Contreras for a huge return, and then letting Victor Caratini become the starter, paired with one of the many veteran back-up types available on the market. If some team out there is willing to go nuts for three arbitration years of Contreras, the Cubs at least have to consider it, since it’s one of the few spots from which they could trade an impact player and potentially not fall off a cliff in total production (considering defense and framing, too).
With another player off the catching market, you could look for those rumors to pick back up. At last check, the Cubs were listening on Contreras.
As for the Braves, they have been uniquely aggressive here in the early part of free agency, and they are clearly going to try to max out the next couple years. Might that make them all the more aggressive in trying to add, for example, an impact third baseman in trade? Maybe. They’re going to have to figure out how to replace (or retain) Josh Donaldson in any case, and it’s not as if the calendar is any concern for them. So stay tuned.