Hours before completing a series against the San Diego Padres in early May, the Los Angeles Dodgers made somewhat of a surprising move by signing Travis d’Arnaud. It came days after the New York Mets designated d’Arnaud for assignment and released him after clearing waivers.
The season up to that point had been a difficult one for d’Arnaud as he was working to return from Tommy John surgery that cost him nearly all of last year. He appeared in just five games for the Mets in 2019, going 3-for-21 with a double and RBI.
The Mets tendered d’Arnaud a contract last offseason and the two sides came to terms on a one-year, $3.51 million deal.
The signing of d’Arnaud gave the Dodgers three catchers on their active roster — albeit each provided some positional flexibility — but his tenure did not last long. Five days after joining the Dodgers, d’Arnaud appeared in just one game and was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for cash considerations.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts deemed it a positive for the Long Beach, Calif., native as he figured to receive more opportunities with the Rays. Roberts’ comments almost proved to be prophetic.
d’Arnaud was productive over 92 games with Tampa Bay, batting .263/.323/.459 with 16 doubles, 16 home runs and 67 RBI.
On July 15, d’Arnaud had a career day by slugging three home runs in a comeback win against the New York Yankees. The last of which came with the Rays down to their final strike in the game.
d’Arnaud’s three-run homer off Aroldis Chapman tied a Rays record for most home runs in a game and handed the Yankees their first loss (49-1) when leading after eight innings.
d’Arnaud reached base in all five of his plate appearances, including two walks. It was the fourth multi-home run game of his career and second of the season.
A strong showing with the Rays led to d’Arnaud signing a two-year, $16 million contract with the Atlanta Braves. He is expected to form a catching tandem with Tyler Flowers in the wake of Braves icon Brian McCann retiring and Francisco Cervelli becoming a free agent.
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