The Braves avoided arbitration with six players, including Mike Foltynewicz and Dansby Swanson, before the 1 p.m. Friday deadline. The Braves had to exchange numbers and settle with their arbitration-eligible players or risk going to a hearing to set their 2020 salaries.
Foltynewicz agreed to a one-year contract for $6.425 million and Swanson to a one-year deal for $3.15 million. Both were the team’s highest profile players eligible for arbitration.
Foltynewicz’s earnings came in well below MLB Trade Rumors’ projections, which placed his salary around $7.5 million. He still received a raise of almost $1 million despite struggling in the first half of the season. Swanson received a considerable pay bump from his $585,000 salary last season.
The Braves also announced settlements with Johan Camargo ($1.7 million), Grant Dayton ($655,000), Luke Jackson ($1.825 million), Adam Duvall ($3.25 million) on their 2020 salaries.
Reliever Shane Greene, who earned an All-Star appearance for the Tigers last season before his trade to the Braves, is the lone eligible player who didn’t settle with the club. The two sides can still negotiate a deal post-deadline to avoid arbitration.
Camargo could be positioned for significant playing time should the team fail to re-sign third baseman Josh Donaldson or acquire an alternative. Otherwise, Camargo will resume a utility role playing across the field.
Dayton pitched in 14 games a season ago but still possesses modest upside despite his injury history. He’ll compete for a bullpen role in spring training.
Duvall is expected to platoon with Nick Markakis in left field. Despite making a marginal impact with the club over the past 1-1/2 seasons, Duvall was a pleasant surprise in October’s National League Division Series. His floor is providing sound defense with threatening power.
Jackson returns as a pivotal part of a rearranged bullpen. He was tasked with closing games for a portion of 2019, but he’ll be in a more suitable role this season.
Greene had a 1.18 ERA with 22 saves over 38 games with the Tigers. His ERA jumped to 4.01 in a Braves uniform, with the righty registering just one save in 27 games. He quickly lost the closer job to fellow newcomer Mark Melancon, but Greene’s production stabilized down the stretch.
MLB Trade Rumors projected Greene to earn $6.5 million this season. He could theoretically be traded or released before an arbitration hearing, but the Braves have remained adamant they want him in their bullpen despite a hefty chunk of payroll going to relievers (with another significant portion perhaps soon going to Donaldson). Greene would be a free agent next winter.
Under MLB’s system, the teams and eligible players exchanged salary proposals for the 2020 season, and if middle ground wasn’t reached by the deadline, the parties proceed to an arbitration hearing.
The sides can still negotiate and avoid a hearing after the deadline. The Braves last went to arbitration in February 2018, when the team defeated first-time-eligible Foltynewicz.
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