Braves sign catcher Tyler Flowers to one-year, $4 million extension
Tyler Flowers will be back behind the plate for the Braves next season, with the team announcing the veteran catcher has signed a one-year, $4 million contract extension for 2019.
The deal also includes a $6 million club option for 2020, along with a $2 million buyout for that season.
Flowers, 32, is hitting .225/.357/.335 this season with five home runs, six doubles and 20 RBI, while also backing a pitching staff that has delivered a 3.70 ERA in his 61 games. In a Braves uniform, Flowers has slashed .264/.365/.409 with 25 home runs, 40 doubles and 110 RBI across 243 games.
One of the game’s premier pitch-framers, Flowers had an MLB-best 28.1 runs above average last season, he’s ninth (5.6) in a year in which he missed 24 games after suffering an oblique injury in his first at-bat of the season.
The combination of Flowers and fellow veteran Kurt Suzuki has proven a valuable one as they had a 5.1 fWAR last year to lead all catching corps and are tied for 10th this year at 2.0. While Atlanta has intriguing prospects in the system in William Contreras — rated 12th by MLB Pipeline — and Alex Jackson (28th), neither seems like they are ready to rise up and seize the job.
Contreras, 20, is hitting .288/.353/.440 this season across Class-A Rome and the Florida Fire Frogs, while Jackson has a .203/.287/.362 slash line at Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett.
The Braves reportedly pursued the Marlins’ J.T. Realmuto before the trade deadline, and they certainly could revisit those talks this offseason even with Flowers coming back. The 10-year-veteran hasn’t caught more than 99 games since joining the Braves, and sharing the role has resulted in his only run of three straight seasons of a positive WAR.