ATLANTA – The Atlanta Braves have agreed to an $ 8 million contract extension with the receiver Travis d’Arnaud which ensures his return in 2023, as well as a club option that could extend the deal for a second season.
D’Arnaud recently rejoined the Braves in first place after missing more than three months with a thumb injury. The deal announced Friday includes an $ 8 million club option for 2024 with no exit clause.
The hard-core Braves team finished the extension before the start of a weekend series in Baltimore. They had won 13 of 15 games, including the best six-game winning streak of the season, to build a four-game lead in the NL East.
The 32-year-old d’Arnaud was hitting .223 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 23 games, but the Braves are hopeful he can regain the form he displayed in his first season with the club in 2020.
D’Arnaud hit .321 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs, earning a National League Silver Bat as the best hitter at his position and helping the Braves win their third straight National League East title.
“He wanted to be here and we wanted him to stay,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “It fits very well.”
D’Arnaud needed surgery on his left thumb after sustaining a torn ligament while bunting in a May 1 game against Toronto.
While d’Arnaud was out, the Braves went through five receivers without much success. William Contreras had the first chance to replace d’Arnaud, but the 23-year-old struggled during a prolonged season as a starter.
Contreras was sent back to Triple A Gwinnett even before d’Arnaud recovered from his injury, leaving the position in the hands of a committee of role players that included Stephen Vogt and Kevan Smith ever since.
Anthopoulos said hiring d’Arnaud for possibly two more years gives prospects like Contreras and Shea Langeliers, the No. 9 overall pick in 2019 and currently at Double-A Mississippi, a chance to develop without rushing them to the big boys. suspenders.
“Contreras and Langeliers are exceptionally talented. I think they will both be stars at some point,” Anthopoulos said. “But there’s a lot more to that position than kicking the guys out. It’s about preparation, having guys on the mound who believe in you. Experience and reps are really critical in that position.”
The Braves came within a game of reaching the World Series last year, blowing a 3-1 lead against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. D’Arnaud hit two home runs and 10 RBIs in 12 postseason games.
Signed a two-year, $ 16 million contract with the Braves ahead of the 2020 season after reliving his career in Tampa Bay.
D’Arnaud was released by the New York Mets early in the 2019 season and sold to Tampa Bay after a brief season with the Dodgers. He suddenly blossomed with the Rays, hitting .263 with 16 homers and 67 RBIs in 92 games.
As part of his new agreement, d’Arnaud will donate 1% of his profits to the Atlanta Braves Foundation.
Anthopoulos said other Braves players have a similar clause in their contracts, but that it has never been published. He decided it was time to give his team credit for their role in improving the community.
“We live here. We care about this place,” said the general manager. “The more awareness we can have about that, and know that the players are doing their part, I think it’s something really important.”