Veteran catcher John Buck has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Braves that includes an invitation to spring training.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com writes that the 34-year-old Buck is slated to begin the season at Triple-A, as the Braves go with Christian Bethancourt and 38-year-old A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate.
Buck hasn’t cracked a .700 OPS since 2010, when he made the All-Star game with the Blue Jays. Since then he’s hit just .216 with a .656 OPS in 388 games for five different teams, including the Mariners and Angels last season.
Last week the Pittsburgh Pirates released Francisco Cervelli. Yesterday he was signed by the Braves. Atlanta gave him the start behind the plate and he went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three runs driven in to help his new team to victory over the Mets. Welcome to Atlanta, Frankie.
Cervelli had been rehabbing from a concussion and hadn’t seen big league action since late May. He was ready to come back, though, and the Pirates — who are going nowhere — gave him his release so that he might join a contender for the stretch run.
The performance he put up last night, obviously will not be the norm for him going forward. But it’s also the case that his early 2019 batting line of .193/.279/.248 is not indicative of his talent level either. He posted an .809 OPS (122 OPS+) in 2018, and if he gives Atlanta anything even approaching his usual production it’ll help stabilize a shaky catching situation for the Braves.