Braves catcher Manny Piña has suffered ligament and cartilage damage in his left wrist, the team informed reporters (including David O’Brien of the Athletic). He will undergo season-ending surgery. The 34-year-old was placed on the injured list late last month with what the team called wrist inflammation, and a recent MRI revealed the issue was more serious than first believed.
Atlanta somewhat surprisingly inked Piña to a two-year, $8MM deal over the offseason. Brought in as a veteran #2 option behind Travis d’Arnaud, he only appeared in five games during his first season with the Braves. William Contreras is the only other catcher on the 40-man roster. Contreras had a nice showing in 44 Triple-A games last year, but the Braves nevertheless prioritized experience in adding Piña behind d’Arnaud — who has had some injury issues throughout his career.
Piña was coming off a decent season backing up Omar Narváez in Milwaukee. The longtime Brewer hit 13 home runs in 208 plate appearances to help compensate for a lackluster .293 on-base percentage. As he has throughout his career, he also rated very well defensively. Piña turns 35 in June and is under contract for $4.5MM next season.
Atlanta has Chadwick Tromp as a non-roster catching option with Triple-A Gwinnett. He’s off to an incredible .367/.400/.750 start over 16 games with the Stripers, so the Braves could call him up if they want the 24-year-old Contreras to see regular reps in the minors. (Selecting Tromp would require a 40-man roster spot, but that could be freed by transferring Piña to the 60-day injured list). It’s certainly possible the Braves could look outside the organization for catching depth via waivers or minor trade, as well.