If you had asked most Braves’ fans as well as lowly pundits like yours truly, catcher was going to be an area of need for the Braves. With the duo of Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki set to man the position, it was easy to think that the Braves would not be among the league leaders in terms of production from their motley collection of backstops.
Those predictions were wrong....very, very wrong. Braves’ catchers led the entire league in WAR with 5.2 fWAR in 2017 thanks to an offensive explosion from Kurt Suzuki (who has already been brought back into the fold) and steady offensive production buoyed by an impressive on-base percentage and a lack of regard for his own body (20 HBP in 2017). This has led to the least surprising option to be picked up by the team in addition to another option decision that is a bit more surprising.
With Flowers and Suzuki back in the fold now, the Braves’ can focus on their primary needs with including starting pitching, the bullpen, third base, and trying to find trade suitors for one or both of Nick Markakis and/or Matt Kemp to make room for prospect wunderkind Ronald Acuna.
The more surprising decision was the Braves declining the option on RA Dickey who was exactly what they wanted from him in 2017: a veteran who ate innings and kept the team in ball games. That said, it is possible that Dickey has already informed the team that he is retiring which would explain this decision a bit. It is also possible that either Dickey wanted to have more options available to him and the team honored those wishes OR the Braves were unwilling to wait on his decision to continue his career with so much going on with the organization.
Flowers posted a .281/.378/.445 line in 2017 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs in 99 games while catching 16 of 71 runners trying to steal on him. Dickey posted a 4.26 ERA in 190 innings for the Braves in 2017.