Prior to Sunday’s loss against the San Diego Padres, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced a couple of roster moves. The club signed former New York Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud to a one-year contract and optioned Matt Beaty to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
d’Arnaud, who became a free agent last week after being released by the Mets, provides the Dodgers additional depth in the wake of outfielder A.J. Pollock undergoing elbow surgery.
The Long Beach, Calif., native is a former top catching prospect who has been mired by injuries in recent seasons, appearing in only a combined 126 games dating back to 2017. He has additional experience playing third base and second base at the Major League level, giving the Dodgers further positional flexibility.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts cited d’Arnaud’s versatility and ability to hit left-handed pitching as key factors that led to his signing, via Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
“We’ll see a run of left-handers,” Roberts said. “So to have that right-handed bat, we potentially could use one of those catchers to hit, and it just makes sense right now.”
“We’ve always liked him behind the plate, the way he received and the quality of at-bat,” Roberts said. “He’s been a victim of injuries over the last few years. Great clubhouse guy and I just think [great for] adding the versatility and freeing up our other right-handers off the bench.”
With Pollock sidelined for the foreseeable future, d’Arnaud’s right-handed presence makes him a sensible fit in Los Angeles. He is expected to receive most of his opportunities as a pinch-hitter, but could additionally receive spot starts at catcher and in the infield.
Over parts of seven MLB seasons with the Mets, d’Arnaud is a lifetime .242/.303/.401 in 1,494 career plate appearances (407 games). This season, he is batting just .087/.160/.087 with two singles in 25 trips to the plate (10 games).
d’Arnaud’s arrival will allow the Dodgers to move Austin Barnes around the infield should they desire to do so. The same may apply to Russell Martin as well, though Roberts previously indicated the veteran catcher wasn’t a likely candidate to fill in across the diamond.