The deadline to announce contract offer intentions is Monday, December 2nd. Depending on who is cut loose, the Atlanta Braves might be signaling future intentions.
It is always fun to try and discern the meaning out of moves made by baseball Front Offices. Since Alex Anthopoulos has taken the reign, though, the Atlanta Braves have harder than usual to figure out.
This is simply because he'll say something publicly - like 'I like where we are at third base' - and then sign Josh Donaldson to a 1-year, high dollar deal. That happened a year ago.
So the guy who might be most nervous about Monday's non-tender deadline might be Shane Greene, since he was given the dreaded 'Anthopoulos vote of confidence':
What can we make of actual moves that have been made... or those about to be made?
So far (for those who came in late), this has happened:
- Contracts of Tyler Flowers and Nick Markakis were shredded and replaced with new ones... a procedural move that pushed money back into 2019 rather than adding more to 2020.
- Nothing really to read into that: it had to have been more beneficial for Liberty Media to have that on the books earlier.
- Julio Teheran's option was declined. $12 million saved. That's not an insignificant sum, but it was also a difficult decision.
- Certainly, this move started the excitement that money might be getting spent.
- Darren O'Day was re-signed for $2.25m. The contract carries an option for 2021 at $3.5m or a $500K buyout.
- Considering that he had been on a $9m deal, this looks really good for Atlanta.
- Will Smith was signed for a remarkable 3 years (at $13m apiece), plus an option year at the same rate... $1m buyout clause.
- The most expensive free agent reliever this Winter. That's noteworthy.
- Chris Martin was signed for 2 years at $7m apiece.
- If you didn't think the bullpen was a priority before, then you've got to know it now. Jacob deGrom really is lusting after this pack of relievers.
- Travis d'Arnaud was signed for 2 years at $8m apiece
- Yasmai Grandal cost the White Sox more than double this rate. d'Arnaud isn't Grandal, to be sure, but he's arguably the 2nd best catcher available.
Playing Chicken with Tenders
Now comes the arbitration calls. In reviewing various guesses, there are quite a few differing opinions on who is tendered a contract on Monday. Many of these are slam dunks... others...?
Of note: the Atlanta Braves 40-man roster is now full. No players can be acquired without a DFA or (for Monday) a non-tender declaration.
Here's the Braves list, along with their estimated salaries for 2020:
- Mike Foltynewicz: $7.5million
- IF HE'S NON-TENDERED: the planet stops for a few moments of shock and awe.
- Dansby Swanson: $3.3 million
- IF HE'S NON-TENDERED: fans march on SunTrust Park while Braves twitter says "yeah - we knew this was coming"
- Luke Jackson: $1.9 million.
- IF HE'S NON-TENDERED: then Anthopoulos has somebody else in mind to pick up... except that surely for a measly $1.9m, he'd be able to trade him and not simply let him go via the non-tender route.
- Grant Dayton: $800K
- IF HE'S NON-TENDERED: this would be a true shock. Useful bullpen left-handers are important to have... especially on this team. Replacement costs would almost certainly outweigh the savings... this won't happen.
- Johan Camargo: $1.6m
- IF HE'S NON-TENDERED: it would be a sign that the team had lost confidence in him, which would be a shame.
- The other possibility: freeing up an additional roster spot for a Jonathan Villar, perhaps? I can't imagine Atlanta pulling in a $10m player for that role, but maybe at $7m?
- Charlie Culberson: $1.8m
- IF HE'S NON-TENDERED: this would be a surprise. Yes - his performance declined around mid-year, but for what he does, this is not a bad price.
- Adam Duvall: $3.8m
- IF HE'S NON-TENDERED: then recent 'interest' expressed in Marcel Ozuna (and possibly other outfielders) will suddenly become 'real'. I would expect that Duvall could be trade-worthy rather than being a straight-up non-tender castoff.
- John Ryan Murphy: $1.2m
- IF HE'S NON-TENDERED: He will be... unfortunately for him. That's the most certain thing about this list. Atlanta needs the roster spot, and this is the most obvious choice.
MLB Trade Rumors, in their off-season overview piece today, suggested that Murphy and Culberson would be non-tendered.
Yesterday, Jake Mastroanni noted that MLB.com's Mark Feinsand thinks Greene is going to be gone. Jake's opinion is that Duvall isn't safe... and he's looking for new landing spots for him as a reuslt.
MY 2 CENTS WORTH:
- Murphy for sure
- One of Camargo or Culberson is at risk, particularly if Atlanta thinks they have a realistic shot at getting Villar
- Duvall is at risk if the Braves intend to use a corner OF position for an offensive upgrade... this regardless of whether Josh Donaldson returns.
- Greene is safe. The 3-batter minimum rule may have insured that.
- So 1 non-tender for sure, possibly ... three?
But let's get this done so we can move on to the next 'Anthopoulisdom' statement to decipher or more weighty matters like 'what will be the stadium's new moniker?' Truist Financial Field?