Braves: Trading Travis d’Arnaud could be in best interest

The Atlanta Braves could consider trading veteran catcher Travis d’Arnaud, especially considering the other options they have available long-term.

The Braves currently have two catchers on the wrong side of 30 in d’Arnaud and Manny Piña, which suggests a trade could be coming to clear room for William Contreras.

d’Arnaud is a capable player, but took a significant step back last season at the plate after winning a Silver Slugger award in a shortened 2020 campaign. d’Arnaud slashed .220/.284/.388 in just 60 games played in 2021, a mark that cannot and should not be repeated next year.

But, the Braves free agent acquisition of Piña to a two-year deal proves they’re not satisfied at backstop. Behind d’Arnaud and Piña is William Contreras, who at just 24 years old could be the Braves catcher of the future.

Braves must make a move at catcher

With d’Arnaud, Piña and Contreras all in the mix at catcher, something has to give. While The Athletic has suggested that Contreras would be the odd man out, he’s by far the youngest and has a ton of potential at the position. Trading the youngest — and cheapest — option at catcher makes no sense for the Braves front office and Alex Anthopoulos.

Contreras is the brother of Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. He ranks as one of the best prospects in the Braves system, and at 24 years old is pretty damn close to being an everyday catcher.

Trading d’Arnaud now would be taking a clear loss, so they’d be better off waiting until midseason and the trade deadline to deal him elsewhere. In return, they could likely get back a prospect.