Braves’ General Manager Frank Wren has been needing to do quite a bit of gymnastics with the 40-man roster in the last few months: season-ending injuries were becoming as normal as a hangnail around the clubhouse. So at this point, it’s worth taking a look at where things stand… until they change again multiple times in the run-up to next month’s Winter Meetings.
The Executive Summary:
- The Braves currently have
3837 names on the 40-man roster (updated: Wed., 11/6 – see below)
- Free Agents have been removed from the list
- Two minor leaguers (Wirfin Obispo and Ryan Buchter) were added late last week to protect them from becoming free agents.
- Others will be removed if/when they are non-tendered (deadline for these decisions: December 2nd)
- Others will be added to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft (deadline for these decisions: December 5th). That draft will be held on December 12th.
- Luis Avilan. Pre-arbitration/automatic renewal.
- Brandon Beachy. Eligible for arbitration.
- Ryan Buchter. Pre-arb minor leaguer (could very well get a look for a bullpen role in Spring).
- David Carpenter. Pre-arb.
- Cory Gearrin. Pre-arb minor leaguer.
- David Hale. Pre-arb.
- Juan Jaime. Pre-arb minor leaguer.
- Craig K-Kimbrel. Eligible for a really big arbitration number.
- Cristhian Martinez. Eligible for arbitration.
- Kris Medlen. Eligible for arbitration.
- Mike Minor. Eligible for arbitration.
- Aaron Northcraft. Pre-arb minor leaguer.
- Wirfin Obispo. Pre-arb minor leaguer (could also get a look for a bullpen role in Spring).
- Julio Teheran. Pre-arb.
- Anthony Varvaro. Pre-arb.
- Jonny Venters. Eligible for arbitration.
- Jordan Walden. Eligible for arbitration.
- Alex Wood. Pre-arb.
It’s kind of eerie that the official roster lists only two catchers…
Recently Removed: Brian McCann (free agent)
- Freddie Freeman. Eligible for arbitration.
Philip Gosselin. Pre-arb minor leaguer. Outrighted to AAA on 11/6.
- Paul Janish. Eligible for arbitration.
- Chris Johnson. Eligible for arbitration.
- Elliot Johnson. Eligible for arbitration.
- Ernesto Mejia. Pre-arb minor leaguer.
- Tyler Pastornicky. Pre-arb.
- Ramiro Pena. Eligible for arbitration.
- Andrelton Simmons. Pre-arb.
- Dan Uggla. Under contract through 2015.
Recently Removed: None
- Jose Constanza. Pre-arb minor leaguer.
- Todd Cunningham. Pre-arb minor leaguer.
- Evan Gattis. Pre-arb (nope, he’s listed here – not as a catcher – for the time being)
- Jason Heyward. Eligible for arbitration.
- Jordan Schafer. Eligible for arbitration.
- Joey Terdoslavich. Pre-arb.
- B.J. Upton. Under contract through 2017.
- Justin Upton. Under contract through 2015.
Contract Tender Decisions Upcoming
For players still under team control, teams have the option to “tender” a contract to each one… or not. If not, they become free agents (this is how the Braves obtained Ramiro Pena from the Yankees, for instance). Usually, pre-arbitration players are kept via automatic contract renewal at a price imposed by the team (after all, they’re relatively cheap). As players work their way through their arbitration years, that becomes more of an iffy proposition, since the money required to keep them escalates substantially. Thus, the following list of the ‘interesting’ decisions that the Braves will have to make.
- Jonny Venters. MLBTR Arbitration estimate: $2.3 million. Was $1.625m in 2013. Will not be 100% until at least June due to continued recovery from Tommy John surgery… more likely July or later. It’s a little more than you’d normally spend on a setup guy for only half a season – particularly when full recovery to peak performance is not 100% guaranteed. I could see this one going either way – probably the ‘most interesting’ call on this list. Best Guess: non-tender.
- Cristhian Martinez. MLBTR Arbitration estimate: $750K. Roughly the same as in 2013. Shoulder trouble, then a failed return late in the year sidelined Martinez. Will likely not know health state prior to December 2nd tender deadline date. Best Guess: non-tender.
- Paul Janish. MLBTR Arbitration estimate: $725K. Roughly the same as in 2013. Paul’s almost total lack of offensive production was exposed as the Braves went both in and out of the organization (Phil Gosselin, Elliot Johnson) in an attempt to find suitable injury replacements. He’s also now out of options, so they can’t even stash him in the minors. Best Guess: non-tender.
- Elliot Johnson. MLBTR Arbitration estimate: $900K. This one’s gonna be a little tricky. And it’s because the Braves are likely going to continue to shop Dan Uggla. The problem with doing that is that Atlanta will likely have to swallow too much salary in order to move Dan… this year. Given that, Pena’s expected return, and the presence of both Tyler Pastornicky and Phil Gosselin on the roster… all of that together makes me believe that Elliot will not be offered a contract… though a quick call-back could still happen. Best Guess: non-tender.
- Ramiro Pena. MLBTR Arbitration estimate: $600K. Pena has done exactly enough at the exact right times to look pretty good on the field, so it is likely that he will be given first crack at the backup infielder role come Spring, since it seems he is multi-talented: he can field and hit. Best-guess: Tender.
- Jordan Schafer. MLBTR Arbitration estimate: $1.1m. Well, lookie what we found last year! This one is not an interesting call: Jordan Schafer is the (real) 4th outfielder on this team… well, since we’re not counting Evan Gattis as a “real” OF. You can tell Evan that for me, okay? Please? Best-guess: Tender.
- Jose Constanza. He’s still inexpensive, but he’s also 30 years old. He’s useful in the minors, but not really so much in the majors. And there lies the problem, as Jose is now out of options. I am thinking that there are probably some other options available to the Braves that are still in their system, and that will mean that Constanza is released. Best guess: released, but roster space could give him a shot on the team in Spring.
- All others: Tender.
So while the roster was buldging at the seams in September, the Winter brings a much different story: there should be lots of flexibility available to bolster the bullpen, add new utility players – or whatever is needed.
Oh, that picture above? I just liked it – it’s different. It somehow has ‘forward thinking’ built into it.