Braves extend d'Arnaud through 2023

August 20th, 2021

The Braves re-signed catcher to a two-year, $16 million deal, the team announced Friday. d’Arnaud will receive $8 million in each season and has an $8 million club option for 2024 with no buyout.

“I wanted to [come back], it's such a great environment, great atmosphere,” said d’Arnaud. “The city's welcomed me and my family with open arms. The clubhouse environment is so fun. It was a blessing to get reached out to and given the opportunity to come back. This team's built to win for the next couple of years, even longer than that actually. I'm just thankful to be a part of it.”

d’Arnaud, 32, came to Atlanta in November 2019 and immediately paid dividends with a career-best season during the shortened 2020 campaign. He posted a .321/.386/.533 slash line with a 137 OPS+, winning the Silver Slugger Award. He also drove in 10 runs over 12 postseason games as the Braves fell one win shy of the World Series.

This season has been more of a struggle for d’Arnaud, who has a .646 OPS through just 28 games and missed more than three months after suffering torn ligaments in his left thumb on May 2.

General manager Alex Anthopoulos and the Braves wanted to get a deal done with d’Arnaud, not only for his baseball abilities but also for his leadership in the clubhouse. Members of the team trust the catcher, and the pitchers are excited when he's calling the game behind the plate.

“I want to be able to walk down into that clubhouse and like the vibe and the group and the people,” said Anthopoulos. “It's just the people you surround yourself with are critically important. I think it matters day in and day out. I especially think the key element is when things aren't going well. That's what it ends up showing up. You can have a lot of talent and still win games, but you're going to hit a bump. When it's a strong group, the roof and the floor doesn't cave in, it kind of stays together.”

d’Arnaud joined other unnamed members of the club who agreed to donate 1% of their earnings in each year of his new contract to the Atlanta Braves Foundation. 

The Braves have talked to the catcher about being a mentor to younger players at the position, including William Contreras and Shea Langeliers, who is the club's No. 2-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline. Rather than rushing them into the role, the two-year deal allows for d’Arnaud to work with them.

“Obviously, guys like Contreras and Langeliers are exceptionally talented, I think they're both going to be All-Stars at some point,” said Anthopoulos. “But there's a lot more to the position than just being able to hit or throw guys out. I mean, the game calling, the preparation, receiving and having guys on the mound that believe in you. Just experienced reps [are] really critical in that position, it's hard to quantify. But this allows us to take our time with both guys. [Travis] is just a great fit for us.”