We are rapidly approaching spring training and the Atlanta Braves have had an interesting and solid offseason in my view, but it’s also created fascinating roster battles to watch in unexpected areas. The Braves have prided themselves on having elite catching duos and in 2023 they are set to have arguably the best pair in the league. The addition of Sean Murphy, Gold Glover along with 2021 silver slugger winner Travis d’Arnaud is a dynamic duo and it’s going to be amazing to watch.
Those two guys are two of your best players that you need in the lineup as much as possible and GM Alex Anthopoulos has said he expects d’Arnaud to DH more this season. Does this open the door for the possibility of carrying three catchers on the roster? Definitely! This move would be rare especially with the DH in both leagues, but with d’Arnaud heading into his age 34 season and injury history it would be smart to have insurance policy just in case.
Additionally, you may have to pinch hit or pitch run in certain situations. It’s a great problem to have when two of your best players play the same position, but you don’t want a repeat of 2021 catching situation where the team had to use a franchise record seven backstops. That’s why Chadwick Tromp could be a factor for the Braves in 2023.
Tromp has had a cup of coffee with both the San Francisco Giants who he made his major league debut in 2020 and Braves the last two seasons. Tromp had one start for Atlanta in August against the Marlins where he had three doubles and drove in three runs, but unfortunately suffered a quad injury while running the bases and didn’t get another chance. Even though it was only one game he showed he can hold his own and has worked with some of our young hurlers in Triple A. While I think other cloudy roster situations in left field and DH may prevent this from happening It is an interesting situation to watch in spring training and throughout the year.
Despite the injury, Tromp stuck on the 40-man roster throughout the remainder of the season as insurance for d’Arnaud and William Contreras. He was one of the biggest benefactors from the three-team trade that landed Murphy as his spot on the 40-man roster would have been in jeopardy with the return of Manny Pina. It remains to be seen if the Braves would actually consider carrying three catchers, but with the DH, it makes some sense as that last bench spot is seldom used and it would provide cover on days when Murphy or d’Arnaud is at DH.
Tromp has just 34 games at the major league level in his career and hasn’t done much at the plate, but handles pitchers pretty well. Atlanta to this point hasn’t added any other catching options to the mix, so there is a possibility that Tromp sits at Triple A just in case an injury occurs. Still, three catchers might make sense depending on what the DH situation looks like and how the bench comes together at the end of the spring.