Today’s deadline for arbitration number exchange passed at 1 PM, with the Atlanta Braves and six players agreeing terms while one will swim with the arbitration sharks.
The Atlanta Braves file and trial arbitration history will a test after the Braves inked only six of the seven players eligible. All of the agreed-on contracts came in at or under the projections by MLBTR.
The Braves gave Dansby Swanson a $2.565M increase, indicating they like him a lot more than some fans think they should. He needs an injury-free season and a return to his best defense to change some fans’ minds, but his leadership on and off the field remains something the Atlanta Braves rightly value.
Luke Jackson got a nice raise too, which will surely inspire a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in spite of his 33.7% K rate, 106K in 70 IP (13.13 K/9), and 60.5% GB rate. Jackson held LHH to a .157/.222/.324/.546 line striking out 44 of the 117 lefties he faced – 37%. Used properly – starting an inning, not entering with men on – he’s a nice asset.
Shane Greene’s MLBTR projection of $6.5M comes from his use as a closer in Detroit. He didn’t fill that role in Atlanta, and his peripherals weren’t great in Atlanta or Detroit, so the Atlanta Braves offered something less. As it happens, his representatives at Turner-Gary Sports think he deserves more.
They will put forth his case to defend a salary figure of $6.75 million while the Braves have chosen to argue for a $6.25m figure. Expect an arbitration trial sometime in February.
As it stands now, the Atlanta Braves came in $1.85M under MLBTR’s arbitration estimates, which in terms of accuracy is a direct hit for MLBTR in spite of the whinging and whining of Jon Heyman.
Show me the money
Below is a projected payroll include the final arbitration figures we know. I left two places vacant as placeholders for a third baseman and the glove-first, backup shortstop Atlanta Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos said he wants.
I left Shane Greene’s MLBTR projection on the list. As a result of the territory staked ou by the partiest will be either higher of lower by $250,000, but this it good enough for discussion purposes.
I have Touki Toussaint and Kyle Wright’s names in the list to fill out the 26-man roster, but they’re just place-holders for now. The official major league minimum salary for 2020 is $563,500, but it’s not likely that the Braves will have many (if any) playersat that level, so I nudged that placeholder value a bit higher.
|Player||Age||Pos||Payroll Salary||% of Payroll|
|Total for 26-Man Roster||$127,839,375|
There’s another $2,25M in Minor League 40-man roster payroll, taking the total commitment to $129.890.323.
Adding $23M for Josh Donaldson – my estimate of the Braves offer – would make the payroll $150M, just under $5M more than their 2019 40-man payroll of $145,237,325. Neither 40-man number includes the approximately $15M in player benefits each team paid or will pay.
Many of the players discussed as trade targets were arbitration-eligible and agreed terms today.
|Mookie Betts||$27M||A new arbitration record|
|Jackie Bradley Jr.||$11M|
|Tommy La Stella||$3.25M||Former Brave gets paid. Good for him.|
That’s a Wrap
I’m not sure what Greene had in mind in requesting $6.75m; he should look at his peripherals before he starts demanding closer compensation. Aside from Greene, the Atlanta Braves arbitration went smoothly.
With arbitration out of the way, the focus shifts back to improving the lineup and perhaps adding a pitcher. The cost for each arbitration piece we’ve discussed here is now known, though I doubt any of the contract costs made a significant difference in the way the Braves valued the player.
We now return you to our coverage of the search for a third-baseman to play in October.