Atlanta Braves Making Moves!
Today the Braves made a splash in free agency by signing catcher Brian McCann and third basemen Josh Donaldson to a pair of one-year deals. McCann signed for $2 million, while Donaldson signed a $23 million contract. Ok, so these aren’t the biggest of signings like the exclamation in the title may suggest, but these are signings of two players everyone has actually heard of and two players who aren’t coming off at least two Tommy John surgeries. So as a Braves fan, I’ll get a little excited about this.
It’s easy to be excited about the Brian McCann signing. McCann is a Georgia native who came up through the Braves system and played his first nine years in Atlanta. He was a fan favorite who produced very good numbers with the Braves and won several Silver Sluggers. From Atlanta he went on to play for the Yankees and Astros, winning a World Series with Houston in 2017. His numbers and playing time have fallen off in recent years, but his reunion with the Braves is still welcomed as he provides another veteran presence behind the plate to work with the Braves young pitching staff. McCann and Tyler Flowers are expected to share the catching duties in 2019 for the Braves. While I really liked Kurt Suzuki behind the plate, I am happy with bringing McCann back. I believe he will have a decent bounce back season playing for his hometown team.
The Josh Donaldson signing is really interesting in several facets. First of all, it’s hard not to be at least a little excited because we all know what he is capable of doing. The 32-year old was the American League MVP just three years ago, but has since fallen off in recent years, largely due to injuries. If he is healthy this season, this could prove to be a very good move for the Braves who have their sights set on a deep playoff run. If he cannot stay healthy, then this signing will hurt because $23 million is a steep, steep price for an injury prone, aging veteran. That is where I question this deal the most. I am glad it’s just a one year deal so we can see if we struck gold while not being tied down, but it’s definitely a lot of money. Another thing that makes this deal interesting is the fact that Johan Camargo had a very good year for the Atlanta Braves last year. Just 24 years old, Camargo really proved he belonged in the big leagues hitting .272, with 19 home runs and 76 rbi. I really liked having him in the lineup because he always seemed to provide a spark, especially when the rest of the lineup was struggling. So I don’t know what Snitker’s plan is for Donaldson and Camargo this coming year. If Dansby continues to struggle at the plate, do the Braves move him out of the lineup and put Camargo at short? These are questions I’m interested in finding out the answer to, but for today I’ll just be happy the Braves aren’t standing pat. Hopefully we’re a long way from being done this offseason.