Braves avoid arbitration with all eligible players

The Braves avoided arbitration with all their eligible players, the team announced Friday.

Starter Mike Foltynewicz receives $5.475 million, reliever Arodys Vizcaino gets $4.8 million, utilityman Charlie Culberson came in at $1.395 million and outfielder Adam Duvall signed $2.9 million, each unveiled during the Braves’ first wave of announcements before the 1 p.m. Friday deadline.

They wrapped up the afternoon with deals for relievers Sam Freeman ($1.575 million) and Dan Winkler ($1.61 million), along with their largest signing, starter Kevin Gausman at $9.35 million.

Foltynewicz, who lost in arbitration a year ago after the parties couldn’t agree on a $100,000 difference, earned a raise of more than $3 million. A first-time All-Star, “Folty” produced a 2.85 ERA with 202 strikeouts across 31 starts in 2018. He’s expected to be the team’s opening-day starter.

There were rumblings the Braves could non-tender Vizcaino, but they chose the safer route. Despite injuries, Vizcaino turned in a nice season, with a career-best 16 saves. The Braves hope to improve their bullpen, but Vizcaino is slotted as the team’s primary closer for now.

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Highest-paid players on Braves' roster in 2019

Culberson was a godsend, mitigating seemingly every injury and plugging any position necessary. The Rome native hit .270 with 12 homers and 45 RBIs in 113 games. He’ll continue his super-utility role in 2019.

Duvall at $2.9 million was a tick below MLB Trade Rumors’ $3.1 projection. He struggled with inconsistent playing time after his trade to the Braves, but they want to give him spring training to secure a role on the team.

Winkler and Freeman were key contributors to the bullpen before both were burned out by the postseason. Freeman endured a disastrous start and injuries to accumulate a 4.29 ERA over 63 games. Winkler produced a 3.43 ERA over 69 games, including a sensational August in which he didn’t allow a run over 13 appearances.

Gausman proved a pivotal deadline deal for the eventual National League East champs. He posted a 2.87 ERA with 44 strikeouts over 59-2/3 innings (10 starts). He’ll remain in the middle of the Braves’ rotation in 2019, and they’ll hope for a full year of what he showed in the season’s final two months.

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