The Braves have reached agreement with catcher Chris Stewart on a one-year deal, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (via Twitter). It’s a non-guaranteed MLB contract, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution adds on Twitter, which could pay Stewart $575K, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
Notably, Bowman adds, this signing will represent the veteran depth move that was referenced earlier today. He adds that he was mistaken in suggesting that the club was close to adding an outfielder, so it seems that the organization is currently set in its outfield mix.
Also of importance, the reports suggest that Stewart is not expected to replace either of the team’s top two catchers. That is, both Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki are expected to remain with the organization.
Stewart hit the free agent market after the Pirates declined a $1.5MM option for his services for the coming season. He had slashed only .183/.241/.221 through 144 plate appearances on the year, a career-low output from the 11-year MLB veteran.
Soon to turn 36, Stewart is not likely to suddenly turn into a quality producer at the plate. After all, he carries a lifetime .590 OPS at the MLB level. Clearly, though, he’s valued for his presence behind the dish and in handling a pitching staff. Just how he’ll fit into the picture in Atlanta remains to be seen.