2 Braves players that absolutely deserve contract extensions, 1 to avoid

The Braves have been very good about locking their players up, but there are a couple more guys that deserve it as well.

Oct 9, 2023; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried (54) pitches during
Oct 9, 2023; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried (54) pitches during / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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Travis d'Arnaud

On the flip side of the extension coin, we have Travis d'Arnaud. There is no denying that TdA has been a godsend for the Braves. His first season with the Braves in 2020 saw him post a .919 OPS (the best mark of his career by a wide margin), he was named an All-Star in 2022, and he has been instrumental in managing the Braves' pitching staff from day one. He has just been an absolute gamer and Atlanta has been better with him around.

However, there have been signs that Travis is beginning to decline. A thumb injury in 2021 cost him a bunch of time and then in 2023, a concussion on a play at the plate took him out for a chunk of the first half and he wasn't the same guy when he returned as he hit .225 with a .685 OPS in 292 plate appearances last year.

Unfortunately, catchers have a limited shelf life as the physical demands of the position do not lend themselves to lengthy careers. Frankly, Travis has already beaten odds to make it this long. At 34 years old (and soon to be 35), it is probably fair to expect his career to wind down over the next couple of years which is exactly why the Braves made the move to snag Sean Murphy last offseason.

Fortunately, that lines up perfectly with his current deal with the Braves as he makes $8 million in 2024 and has a club option for the same amount for 2025. He is certainly good enough for the Braves to play next season, but every year after that should be very much on a case-by-case basis instead of locking the team in on a deal that could flame out in a hurry.