Why did Travis d’Arnaud sign with the Braves rather than return to the Rays?
Most obviously, it would seem, was the $16 million, two-year contract from the Braves that exceeded whatever final offer the Rays made on Saturday night.
Here is what d'Arnaud said Monday when I asked him on a conference call what led him to the Braves:
"The Rays were talking to me about coming back, it was just something that just didn't work out. I'm always going to be forever grateful to that organization for giving me a chance to play again. I hope nothing but the best for everybody there. They have a very bright future.
"But for me, in the situation I was at, it just seemed like the fit in Atlanta was a good fit. It’s a very strong team. There’s no holes. The pitching staff is tremendous, the offense is tremendous, the coaching staff is tremendous. I’ve heard nothing but great things about (manager Brian Snitker, and their staff, which he pretty much named, including catching coach Sal Fasano, his former minor-league manager in the Toronto system).
“There’s a lot of good things in this organization.”
D’Arnaud said he also heard good things about the culture and team unity in Atlanta, as well as about the city from his brother, Chase, who played parts of the 2016-17 seasons there, including how family oriented it is.
“It’s just a good situation here, also for my family as well,” d’Arnaud said. “Talking to my brother, he said nothing but great things about how this organization treats the players’ family. So it’s a good situation over here. Like I said, I hope nothing but the best for everyone over there in Tampa. But I’m a Brave now and I’m looking forward to winning an AL, sorry, NL East title and going for a World Series championship.”
As he did in a text message on Sunday night, d’Arnaud reiterated how thankful he was to the Rays for giving him the opportunity to play after acquiring him in May from the Dodgers, who had cast him in a very limited role after signing him following his release by the Mets.
“As the year unfolded last year, it’s pretty crazy how baseball can go,” d’Arnaud said. “One day you’re not playing too well and the next day you’re in the postseason with a team you didn’t imagine you would be with when the season started. I just have to give credit to all the guys that were with the Rays organization who helped me believe in myself and to keep trusting the process and fortunately for me things turned out the way that we wanted to.”
D’Arnaud also noted that he was comfortable in the NL East, having played for the Mets, and was pleased to get signed early in the offseason so he would work on getting to know the pitchers. He is represented by the same agency, Wasserman, that handled Yasmani Grandal’s deal $73 million, four-year deal with the White Sox and said "the catcher’s market was hot.''