2020 NLCS: Dave Roberts Believes Travis d’Arnaud’s Brief Time With Dodgers Was Key

When the Los Angeles Dodgers take the field against the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Monday night, they will see a familiar face in Travis d’Arnaud.

The Long Beach, Calif., native spent all of five days with the Dodgers last season, playing in just one game before being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for cash considerations.

d’Arnaud went on to thrive in a bigger role for the Rays and turned that success into a two-year contract with the Braves this past offseason.

Though his time with the Dodgers was short, manager Dave Roberts attributed a portion of d’Arnaud’s turnaround at the plate to his work with some of the organization’s hitting coaches. “I got to know him briefly and just loved everything about him,” Roberts said.

“A really nice way about him, there’s a confidence but there’s a humility. He really wanted to be a Dodger. His family grew up Dodger fans, so he had that opportunity, although it was short lived.

“He had a chance to work with some of our hitting guys while he was with us for that brief time and I think had an opportunity to clean some things up. I couldn’t be happier for him and his career. I don’t like seeing him in the four hole against us for this next week, but really happy for him.”

Prior to joining the Dodgers, d’Arnaud was mired by inconsistencies with the Mets. In seven season with the organization, he batted just .242/.303/.401 across 1,494 plate appearances (407 games).

d’Arnaud flipped a switch with the Rays, batting .263/.323/.459 in 92 games and helping the club reach the postseason for the first time since 2013. He improved on those numbers with the Braves this season, posting a .919 on-base plus slugging in 44 games.

d’Arnaud is one of the Braves’ hottest hitters entering an NLCS matchup against the Dodgers, having recorded two doubles and two home runs during the Wild Card round.

Why Dodgers parted with d’Arnaud

Roberts recalled what led the Dodgers to sign d’Arnaud in May 2019 and why they ultimate parted with him. “A lot of his ability to control the strike zone,” Roberts said.

“Bob Geren had him in New York, raved about the character, the teammate perspective. As far as the bat, just thought there was some upside. We had him, he worked with our hitting guys a little bit before we activated him.

“Just didn’t make sense for our roster, he went over o the Rays, got an opportunity, flourished and carried it over to the Braves. He’s a name to be reckoned with.”

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