The Braves did not offer salary arbitration to free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez on Wednesday’s deadline, choosing not to risk him accepting the offer and commanding more than $3 million in arbitration.
By declining, the Braves forfeited a chance at picking up a supplemental draft pick from another team that signs him.
Gonzalez, 34, is seeking a two-year deal, which the Braves weren’t prepared to offer. He seems likely to get one on the open market, given the demand for shortstops this offseason. Clint Barmes just signed a two-year deal with the Pirates worth $11 million and veteran shortstop Jamey Carroll signed a two-year deal worth at least $6.5 million with the Twins.
But Gonzalez also might have chosen to stay in Atlanta where he seemed to have enjoyed his time. Given the raise he’s likely to command on his $2.5 million salary, he did not fit into the Braves' plans. Gonzalez is coming off a standout defensive season but hit only .241 with a .270 on-base percentage.
The Braves are looking to either sign or trade for a shortstop to serve as a one-year bridge to prospect Tyler Pastornicky. They also have highly regarded Andrelton Simmons progressing well behind Pastornicky.
The Braves have reportedly expressed interested in the Yankees’ Eduardo Nunez, though as a possible heir apparent to Derek Jeter, the price for him is likely to be high.
With Gonzalez rated as a Type B free agent, the Braves would have received a supplemental round draft pick between the first and second rounds in next year’s draft from any team that would sign him, had they offered arbitration. Gonzalez was the Braves’ only ranked free agent.
The Braves haven’t been able to acquire the ace they might have wanted for the top of their rotation, but they secured the depth they needed Monday with the signing of free agent right-hander Gavin Floyd.
One week after the Braves were eliminated by the Dodgers in a four-game division series, Braves general manager Frank Wren met with the team’s beat writers and discussed the 2013 season and the team’s needs going into the offseason.