Braves tender contract to Duvall, decline Camargo, Rodriguez

Johan Camargo went 0-for-16 during the 2021 season.
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Johan Camargo went 0-for-16 during the 2021 season.

Credit: Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com

The Braves retained depth Tuesday, tendering or signing all but three players eligible in their organization. The non-tender deadline was 8 p.m. Tuesday, meaning arbitration-eligible players needed to be signed or tendered contracts or they would become free agents.

Earlier in the day, the Braves avoided arbitration with outfielder Guillermo Heredia and shortstop Orlando Arcia. They tendered contract offers to shortstop Dansby Swanson, outfielder Adam Duvall, relievers Luke Jackson, A.J. Minter, Tyler Matzek and Sean Newcomb, third baseman Austin Riley, and starting pitchers Max Fried and Mike Soroka. Each individual is set to enter arbitration to determine his 2022 salary unless the team and player reach an agreement.

The team declined to tender contracts to infielder Johan Camargo, righty Jasseel De La Cruz and righty Richard Rodriguez, who became free agents. The Braves’ 40-man roster stands at 38 following the moves.

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Heredia signed a one-year, $1 million deal. Heredia 30, appeared in 120 games for the Braves last season. Beloved for his charisma, Heredia proved a valuable part of an everchanging outfield. He hit .220/.311/.354 with 26 doubles, five homers and 26 RBIs.

The Braves have several free-agent outfielders, including three of their July acquisitions in Joc Pederson, Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler. Retaining Heredia and Duvall, who notably was non-tendered last winter, maintains some depth. Marcell Ozuna, who didn’t play after May after he was arrested on domestic-violence charges, served a 20-game suspension and will be eligible to play opening day, MLB announced Monday. Ronald Acuna is expected back sometime early in the season after the MVP candidate tore his ACL in July.

Arcia signed a two-year contract worth $3 million guaranteed. He will make $1.6 million next season and $1.3 million in 2023. The contract also includes a $2 million team option for 2024 ($100,000) buyout. Arcia was projected to make around $2.1 million in arbitration this season, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

The Braves acquired Arcia from the Brewers last season, and the veteran hit .214 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 32 games. Arcia played left field, second base and shortstop, increasing his value.

Rodriguez was a notable but not surprising non-tender. The Braves acquired Rodriguez from Pittsburgh during their busy trade deadline. Rodriguez didn’t allow a run over his first nine appearances as a Brave, but struggled as the second half progressed.

He surrendered five homers in a five-inning stretch during September, when he had an ERA over 5.00, and ultimately was left off the Braves’ postseason roster. Rodriguez, 31, was slated to earn over $3 million in arbitration, per MLB Trade Rumors.

Camargo, meanwhile, went 0-for-16 during the 2021 season, which was his fourth in the majors. De La Cruz hasn’t pitched in the majors and had an ERA over 7.00 in 20 games with Triple-A Gwinnett.

The non-tender deadline was moved from Dec. 2 to Tuesday because of the looming lockout with the collective bargaining agreement’s expiration, which is set to occur at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. That way, arbitration-eligible players weren’t left in limbo during the work stoppage.

While a flurry of sizable free-agent signings have occurred in recent days, the Braves have been relatively quiet. They acquired reliever Jay Jackson from the Giants just over a week ago, signed veteran catcher Manny Pina, and signed veteran right-hander Kirby Yates to a two-year deal Sunday to bolster their bullpen. All eyes remain on face-of-the-franchise first baseman Freddie Freeman, who’s one of the most accomplished players still unsigned.

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