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  • The Brewers could find catching help in Atlanta


    Nate Palmer

    The Brewers could be looking to fill out their catching depth as Omar Narvaez hits free agency. The Atlanta Braves could prove to be a team that could help them fill that need in a trade. 

    Image courtesy of Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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    As Omar Narvaez looks to hit free agency, the Milwaukee Brewers will be left with a decision to make at the catcher position. They can try to have Alex Jackson or Mario Feliciano take on the backup role while Victor Caratini remains the starter. This option saves precious payroll space, but if the Brewers are willing to spend some resources to bolster the catcher position, the Atlanta Braves would be a good call to make. 

    The Braves looked on pace to return to the World Series this season after winning it all in 2021 and their catching depth certainly helped propel their success. The Braves rostered two starting-caliber catchers in veteran Travis d’Arnaud and the 24-year old William Contreras. Juggling the platoon of d’Arnaud and Contreras worked in ‘22, but with Conteras looking ready to take on full-time starter duties after an All-Star appearance, the Braves might be willing to talk about a deal. 

    Contreras could be viewed as the better of the two for the Brewers purely based on his age and contract status. He has one more season before he becomes arbitration-eligible for the first time going into the 2024 season. 2022 was Contreras’ first true full-season workload at the major league level, and he handled it well, hitting .278/.354/.506 with 20 home runs and 14 doubles. He also boasted an impressive 138 wRC+.

    If the Braves (understandably) have no interest in trading Contreras, d’Arnaud has plenty of his own appeal. At 33 years old, the veteran hit .268/.319/.472 paired with 18 home runs, 25 doubles, and his own 120 wRC+. The big drawback for d’Arnaud is his $8 million price tag. The Brewers could see if the Braves would be interested in Hunter Renfroe and his power to supplant Marcell Ozuna in the outfield. More would need to be added to the deal than just Renfroe, but this move could save the Brewers some in payroll in 2023 while bringing back a catcher with a bat that covers some of the power lost by sending out Renfroe. 

    If the Braves are not interested in either of those moves, the Brewers could look to bring back old friend Manny Pina to pair with Caratini. Pina is not nearly as exciting as the other two Braves catchers, but the Brewers know him and know that even at his floor-level offensive performance, the team would be getting solid defense. 

    The 35-year-old right-hander’s bat isn’t great, but he certainly can break out into a hot streak to help carry the offense for a time. In 2021, Pina hit one of those streaks in August and slashed .278/.350/.850. He is coming off of a wrist injury which is certainly concerning but he also comes with a $4.5 million salary for ‘23 but works better as a straight swap with Renfroe than d’Arnaud if the Braves were to express interest in him. While d’Arnaud or Contreras may be a bit of a fantasy to bring to Milwaukee, a Pina reunion is very realistic, and there could be a number of ways to construct a trade for him. 

    How do you view these catcher options? Does a Pina reunion make sense, or could you see the Brewers try to trade for the bigger names, even coming off of the down year? 

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    Just now, HarryDoyle said:

    #BringBackPina

    I wouldn't be against that but I think the Braves would want to trade d'Arnaud as he has the higher salary.  

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    11 minutes ago, nate82 said:

    I wouldn't be against that but I think the Braves would want to trade d'Arnaud as he has the higher salary.  

    His age is probably a factor in any trade, too. While d'Arnaud looks pretty appealing right now, he could drop off a cliff at any moment playing catcher in an age 34 season.

    Not that I'm saying he *will* drop off a cliff but 34 year old catchers make me nervous.

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    Trade Simulator says Taylor alone could get it done but sure include one of Cousins/Topa to get it done. Find that a little hard to believe but if the Brewers could trade from their excess to acquire what was a weakness I hope they do it. Would open up a reserve spot for Ruiz.

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    10 hours ago, Outlander said:

    Trade Simulator says Taylor alone could get it done but sure include one of Cousins/Topa to get it done. Find that a little hard to believe but if the Brewers could trade from their excess to acquire what was a weakness I hope they do it. Would open up a reserve spot for Ruiz.

    Yeah, I don't believe there's any chance that trade happens unless ATL is just dumping payroll...in which case, they could probably get an actual prospect back.

    The trade simulator puts roughly the same value on Taylor as it does on Wiemer. The Braves would probably do one. The Brewers would almost certainly not do the other. 

    I like Taylor, but he seems like Wiemer's floor at this point. ~.220/.280 with some power and solid CF defense? You could get that but with better speed and a better arm from Wiemer(and that's assuming Wiemer is a disappointment). 

     

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    18 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

    His age is probably a factor in any trade, too. While d'Arnaud looks pretty appealing right now, he could drop off a cliff at any moment playing catcher in an age 34 season.

    Not that I'm saying he *will* drop off a cliff but 34 year old catchers make me nervous.

    Even for a guy who seems to just keep producing, this certainly is a concern. 

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    I would pass on Manny, if he was a free agent and we could get a minor league deal I would say yes in a heartbeat. I just wouldn't give up anything for him.

    D'Arnaud would be interesting, I wouldn't give up a major prospect (top 8 or so). I like the Renfroe idea, maybe Lauer would work as well.

    Contreras and one of Vaughn Grissom or Kyle Muller, would be the start of a good Woody or Burnes package. I doubt the Braves would do something like Lauer, Mitchell, and a lesser piece for Contreras but that would be optimal in my book.

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    I don't think d'Arnoud's 8 million dollar salary is a hindrance from the Brewer perspective.  Contreras is a up and coming star and needs to play so I think Braves would be more than willing to listen to offers for d'Arnoud and Brewers might have some pieces that fit.  Braves could ask for Caratini back as part of the deal, which would offset some of the d'Arnoud's salary.

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