The Atlanta Braves continue to try and find the right mix at catcher after losing Travis d’Arnaud for a significant amount of time in 2021.
While William Contreras appears to have taken hold of the starting catcher job and is doing a great job offensively, the Atlanta Braves still need that veteran behind him.
They really like Jeff Mathis and how he handles the pitching staff, but he gives you almost nothing offensively.
Tyler Flowers was back on a Minor League deal momentarily before he decided to retire.
And Jonathan Lucroy is down at Triple-A getting reps in case he’s needed.
But their latest attempt comes in 32-year-old Kevan Smith who they acquired from the Tampa Bay rays for cash.
The general rule of thumb is that when the Rays trade somebody it usually means they’ve outlived their usefulness, but this was more of a roster crunch situation.
Smith has only appeared in 3 games for the Rays this season with 1 hit in 4 at-bats.
Over parts of six years with the Rays, White Sox, and Angels he has a career average of .271 and a .704 OPS with 13 home runs.
Those certainly aren’t terrible numbers for a backup catcher.
The defensive metrics on him aren’t great, but former Rays teammate and battery mate Charlie Morton appears to be a fan.
Smith is out of options, so the Braves have to keep him on their 40-man roster or risk losing him through waivers — as the Rays did.
Braves Add Another Prospect to Top 100
Speaking of catchers, Shea Langeliers was recently added to the Top 100 list of prospects by Baseball America.
Many believe he and Contreras will form a really solid tandem behind the plate in Atlanta for a really long time.
Langeliers is already viewed as one of the better defensive catching prospects in baseball, and he he’s handled the bat pretty well so far.
This year at Mississippi he’s slashing .214/.405/.571 with a .977 OPS, 3 home runs, 8 walks and 9 strikeouts showing a mature approach at the plate.