Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Braves Contract Talks Part 1

Yesterday the Braves made several contract offers to avoid arbitration. This is important, because if you know the Braves, the one thing that the club doesn't do is go to arbitration. In fact, if you push for it as a player on the Braves, you can expect to find yourself another job when that period is up. The Braves aren't quite clipping coupons as a franchise, but they certainly aren't buying at Whole Foods. If the Braves were shopping for clothes, they'd be at Ross or TJ Maxx. Not at Goodwill but also not at Joseph A Bank. In essence, they have to be very careful with money, which makes the Dan Uggla and BJ contracts that much more devestating.

Three players did not get offers, which means their time in Atlanta is likely up. Christian Martinez is the obvious one, and I don't think anybody will be sorry to see him go. He spent most of 2012 on the DL with some sort of bizarre shoulder injury and never recovered. The other two are Paul Janish and Elliot Johnson. Paul may be a fielding whiz, but he couldn't hit his way out of a paper bag. Elliot really found his stride here in Atlanta after struggling in KC, but he's still a career .218 hitting second baseman no matter how you slice it. We have a full stock of those already. The Elliot Johnson move also suggests what I've believed all along, the talks to move Dan Uggla are going nowhere. He's going to be your second baseman when 2014 opens. While we all wish somebody would take the crappy contract off our hands, I think we all need to understand that no GM in baseball is that stupid. Even at 25% of what Dan makes, he's not worth it.

Players that got contract offers to avoid arbitration? That would be Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman, Mike Minor, Jason Heyward, Jordan Walden, Chris Johnson, Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy and Jordan Schafer. That doesn't mean they took the offers, but the Braves are working on getting them signed before they have to get to the arbitration process. They also signed Ramiro Pena to a one-year contract that will avoid arbitration as well. That means you'll have Dan Uggla, Pena, and Pastornicky as a potential platoon for second base. It also means there wasn't any room for Elliot Johnson. The Braves also signed a one-year deal with Venters, so he will be around for 2014 as well coming off the Tommy John surgery. That's good news for the bullpen.

In the coming weeks, the Braves will work on getting the remaining deals closed so we can keep the young guys happy. Also, Frank Wren will continue to try and make the trade for an Ace if he can. We'll see what the hot stove has in store as we get closer to Christmas. Maybe there will be a fireballing starter under the tree.


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