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Alex Anthopoulos discusses Travis d’Arnaud’s new extension

Alex Anthopoulos made it clear that Travis d’Arnaud isn’t going anywhere.

Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves announced a one-year contract extension with Travis d’Arnaud just as their Tuesday night game against the Arizona Diamondbacks was getting underway. d’Arnaud already had a club option for the 2024 season, but his new deal guarantees 2024 and pushes the club option back to 2025.

That may come as a surprise to some given that the Braves traded for Sean Murphy this past offseason and signed him to a long-term extension. However, the Murphy, d’Arnaud tandem has given Atlanta one of, if not the best catcher situation in the majors. It however was the plan all along according to Braves President of Baseball Operations Alex Anthopoulos who said that he never had any thought of d’Arnaud going anywhere else.

“Yeah, I’ve said it before, even when we brought Sean Murphy in and people were speculating on trades. I even told Travis, maybe finally people will stop speculating on trades,” Anthopoulos said shortly after the deal was announced. “I said it so many times over, he’s not going anywhere, he’s here to stay. He’s really the glue for us in my mind. Obviously on the field, he’s fantastic. and all he does it behind the plate, it’s fantastic. I can’t say enough about him as a person. It was a no-brainer to keep him here.”

Anthopoulos spoke to d’Aranud’s value both on and off the field. Over the last couple of seasons, people have wondered how the Braves would fill the leadership void left by players like Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson. d’Arnaud has helped fill that void, and Anthopoulos described him as a great example for everyone else in the clubhouse.

“Even before we made the deal for Sean Murphy, I talked to staff as well, and mentioned I was going to talk to Travis. They all were confident how he’d react and how he’d handle it,” Anthopoulos said. “He’s been so good, and he’s been great on the field and in the clubhouse. He’s just a great example, right? Beyond a great player and person, he’s such a good example for everybody else.”

“Obviously, the news broke like five minutes before the game, or right at game time. I can only imagine as word will circulate around our clubhouse on the bench and so on, how excited guys are going to be,” Anthopoulos added. “Like I can guarantee you there’s going to be a ton of smiles, ton of excitement, this guy is beloved and rightfully so.”

d’Arnaud will make $8 million next season and the club option is for $8 million and contains no buyout. It is the same deal that he inked with the club back in 2021. Anthopoulos said that it was a relatively easy negotiation because the club wanted him back and he wanted to stay in Atlanta.

“Even though his role has changed, we’re compensating him the exact same way. It’s similar in structure to what we’ve been doing with Charlie Morton the last few years. I remember telling him, when we signed him, this is the third time we’ve signed him. The second time was in ‘21, he’d just come off the IL. I remember telling him the following spring, I don’t even know what your OPS was, I don’t even know what your stats were, I just know how valuable you are, and you caught every inning of the playoffs and so on. So I think, obviously he’s getting older and so on, but it just made sense for us for it to go that way. Again, the hope and the expectation is that he’s here as long as he wants to be here and he wants to continue to play.”

Anthopoulos said that the deal came about quickly, but that he had an understanding with Travis and his agent that he wanted to talk extension at some point this season.

“Obviously, we finished it today, but I’ve had an understanding, even from the offseason to spring training that at some point there was a desire to keep him,” Anthopoulos said. “I told Travis, you’re not going anywhere at all. I told his agent that as well. Then we both agreed there’d be a time we would have a conversation at some point, get it ironed out, get it worked out.”

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