The Braves would’ve preferred to sign Stewart to a minor league deal, but he wanted a major league contract or else would’ve looked elsewhere for a job.
Flowers had surgery on his left wrist and forearm after the season, but is fully recovered and has no restrictions in spring training. Anthopoulos reiterated when asked about Flowers’ surgery that it had no influence on the decision to sign Stewart.
“No, zero,” the GM said. “That’s why I wanted to make it clear. He wasn’t coming on a minor league deal, so this is what it took to come here.”
Stewart hit a career-worst .183 with no homers and a .463 OPS in 144 plate appearances over 51 games last season with Pittsburgh, but was a productive hitter as recently as 2015, when he hit .289 with eight doubles in 159 at-bats. In 2014, he hit a career-best .294 with a .362 on-base percentage in 154 plate appearances.
His offense was not the attraction for the Braves.
“We like that he can frame and receive,” Anthopoulos said. “His makeup, clubhouse (reputation) – especially with all these (young) arms in camp. If things don’t work out, if he doesn’t make the team, hopefully he’ll want to stay.”