Thoughts on the Future of the Atlanta Braves 40-Man Roster

Many roster moves will have to be made fairly quickly after the World Series is over. Within 10 days into the offseason, the Braves will have a new look to their 40-man roster and spots will be precious. In this piece, I’m going to try to cover all avenues of additions and subtractions on the 40-man roster that will come fast and furious when baseball dies for the winter.

*Reminder to all that the 60-day IL goes away in the offseason and all players who were placed on the 60-day IL have to return to the 40-man roster or be designated for assignment.

*Special shoutout to Braves Options Guy and Roster Roundup for the aid on Rule-5 eligibles and MILB FAs. Two great Twitter follows!

Pre-arb Players on 40-man Roster

  1. Max Fried
  2. A.J. Minter
  3. Sean Newcomb
  4. Chad Sobotka
  5. Mike Soroka
  6. Touki Toussaint
  7. Jeremy Walker
  8. Bryse Wilson
  9. Jacob Webb
  10. Patrick Weigel
  11. Kyle Wright
  12. Huascar Ynoa
  13. Alex Jackson
  14. Rafael Ortega
  15. Austin Riley

Arb-eligible Players on 40-man Roster

  1. Mike Foltynewicz
  2. Shane Greene
  3. Charlie Culberson
  4. John Ryan Murphy
  5. Luke Jackson
  6. Dansby Swanson
  7. Johan Camargo
  8. Grant Dayton
  9. Adam Duvall (gained extra year of control due to MiLB stay)

Players with Options

  1. Julio Teheran (12MM option, 1MM buyout)
  2. Nick Markakis (6MM option, 2MM buyout)
  3. Tyler Flowers (6MM option, 2MM buyout)
  4. Billy Hamilton (7MM option, 1MM buyout)

Players Under Contractual Control

  1. Freddie Freeman
  2. Mark Melancon
  3. Ender Inciarte
  4. Ronald Acuna Jr.
  5. Ozzie Albies

Free Agents/ Retirees to be

  1. Brian McCann
  2. Francisco Cervelli
  3. Darren O’Day
  4. Josh Donaldson
  5. Jerry Blevins
  6. Dallas Keuchel
  7. Chris Martin
  8. Anthony Swarzak
  9. Josh Tomlin
  10. Adeiny Hechavarria
  11. Matt Joyce

Thoughts on Players Under Team Control

Rafael Ortega and John Ryan Murphy seem like easy non-tenders and guys like Chad Sobotka and Grant Dayton could be on the outs should the Braves need to add someone, especially Dayton whose career is coming at a rough time considering the 3-batter minimum that will be implemented in the 2020 season. Aside from that, I don’t see any non-tenders.

Thoughts on Players with Options

When the season ends, the Braves will have 33 players on the 40-man roster as players with options are kept on the roster and the decision to keep or dump the player has to be made within 5 days after the end of the World Series. It goes without saying that the Braves will part with Billy Hamilton. The other 3 are not as easy to determine the path, but as of now, I’m thinking they will exercise options on Tyler Flowers and Nick Markakis, and either decline Julio Teheran’s option or pick it up and trade him (although I don’t think the latter is very likely).

Final Thoughts on Current 40-man

Braves are subtracting 11 free agents/retirees, but are adding all of their 60-day IL guys back, so at the most, they’ll have 33 guys on there. Whether it’s now or later, John Ryan Murphy, Rafael Ortega, and Billy Hamilton will likely be removed, then the options of Flowers, Markakis, and Teheran to be considered. I’m guessing the Braves will have 29 guys on the 40-man 10 days after the World Series.

Upcoming Braves Minor League Free Agents

Below is a list of Braves Minor League Players that will be free agents for the 2020 season. As a rule, the Braves do have a window of 10 days after the World Series to make a decision to add said players to the 40-man (or 25 in some cases) roster. Here are those soon to be (or not) free agents.

  1. Lane Adams
  2. Jonathan Aro
  3. Andres Blanco
  4. Ryan Casteel
  5. Claudio Custodio
  6. Jose Rafael De Paula
  7. Ray-Patrick Didder
  8. Pedro Florimon
  9. Jordan Harrison
  10. Jason Hursh
  11. Sean Kazmar Jr
  12. Connor Lien
  13. Daniel Lockhart
  14. Jack Lopez
  15. Raffy Lopez
  16. Luis Marte
  17. Carlos Martinez
  18. Ben Rowen
  19. Caleb Thielbar
  20. Riley Unroe
  21. Andy Wilkins
  22. Lukas Young
  23. Jason Creasy
  24. Alejandro Salazar
  25. Kevin Josephina
  26. Dilmer Mejia
  27. Ariel Montesino

Thoughts on Soon to Be MILB Free Agents

There’s a near 0% chance that any of these guys get a look on the 40-man, but a strong possibility that many stay in the organization for the 2020 season.

Rule-5 Eligible Braves Minor Leaguers

The following players are Rule-5 eligible, which means that they’ll need to be protected by being placed on the 40-man, or be at risk of being taken by another team in December. These players have to be placed on the 40-man no later than November 20th. This list is much more intriguing and there are some near guarantees to be added, unless they’re traded.

  1. Thomas Burrows
  2. Corbin Clouse
  3. Caleb Dirks
  4. Sal Giardina
  5. Jonathan Morales
  6. William Contreras
  7. Braxton Davidson
  8. Tucker Davidson
  9. Jasseel De La Cruz
  10. Josh Graham
  11. Tyler Neslony
  12. Cristian Pache
  13. Bradley Roney
  14. Kurt Hoekstra
  15. Sean McLaughlin
  16. Shean Michel
  17. Philip Pfeifer
  18. Brandon S. White
  19. Matt Withrow
  20. Jeremy Fernandez
  21. Odalvi Javier
  22. Luis Mora
  23. Gabriel Noguera
  24. Alan Rangel
  25. Ricardo Rodriguez
  26. Alex Aquino
  27. Deyvis Julian
  28. Juan Morales
  29. Filyer Sanchez

Thoughts on Rule-5 Eligible Players

From Hoekstra down (number 14), the players finished at High-A or below, so we can likely cross those off the list. From my perspective, there are 3 guys here that are guarantees to be added to the 40-man roster, unless traded: Tucker Davidson, Cristian Pache, William Contreras. Both Jasseel De La Cruz and Phil Pfeifer could get looks as well and it wouldn’t surprise me to see both added, or both traded early to a team that can store them. I’d bet on them being added.

Final Analysis

In taking the whole into account and without any outside additions, I think the Braves will have 34-36 players on the 40-man roster by the time Wyclef Jean makes his return in November. However, sometimes teams add players that could get drafted (if they have space) in the Rule-5, then try to pass them through waivers when everyone else’s 40-man is bulging in January. I don’t think Anthopoulos will do that, but I’ve been wrong before.

Thanks for reading!

Long live Braves Journal!

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

28 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Future of the Atlanta Braves 40-Man Roster”

  1. I agree, this is a very nice primer to the beginning of the offseason. As someone who is not very well versed in the prospect lists, it is nice to see that snapshot. What do people see as the toughest call for the roster?

  2. If you don’t exercise the options, you’ll still need someone in that role on the 40-man, so it doesn’t really matter. If Teheran is declined, you’ll need a SP. If Flowers is declined, you need a catcher, etc.

    For me, it’s just about the Rule V protections. I agree that those 5 will be protected, and no one else will be necessary. There’s certainly nothing resembling a crunch right now the way we did even a year ago when we had lots of players that the team didn’t know enough about to make a qualified decision. But as is the case with some of these relief prospects or a guy like Gohara, they seem to have worked themselves out.

  3. Man, B-Ref and Fangraphs are really in a street feud over pitch framing.

    Tyler Flower’s WARs:

    B-Ref: -0.1 bWAR
    Fangraphs: 2.1 fWAR

    They certainly disagree on pitchers fairly regularly, but not to this degree. And you can’t really just say, “Well, split the difference or something.” It’s really a matter of how much pitch framing actually matters.

  4. B-ref has 0 framing metrics factored in while I think Fangraphs has overdone it with their metric.

  5. 6 – I think this is the correct answer and actually splitting the difference might be the most accurate way to do it.

    Thanks for laying out the whole picture Ryan. Do you think Burrows is a candidate to be added?

  6. I think Burrows and Clouse get added as well as they are locks to be claimed otherwise. they can always be dfa later if AA can’t find a trade partner.

  7. I think that both Burrows and Clouse have been jumped by Pfeifer. Also, I think the 3 batter rule really hurts their chances.

  8. I’m not even sure pitch-framing is an independent thing. It needs to be cross-checked against umpire performance. I don’t think each team gets an even sampling of every umpire, do they?

  9. Nathan, thanks for sharing that article from yesterday about pitcher consistency. The idea that you’d rather have inconsistently great starts over consistently mediocre starts makes a lot of sense.

  10. Agree that there are four locks – Contreras, T. Davidson, Pache, de la Cruz. I hope some of Burrows, Cloiuse, or Pfeifer are good enough to stick.

    AA did sign JD and BMac before the Rule 5 draft last year so we will need a couple of slots for early signees or our own Rule 5 draftees.

    I guess for all the kvetching about the 40-man roster, AA did weed out quite a few during the year. The list is pretty long, too…

    R. Ruiz
    [Demeritte, Wentz – would have needed spots]

    That’s more than 25% of the guys that were on the 40-man roster at the beginning of last year. And none of that really changed the team for the worse (although Wentz and Allard will be felt).

  11. While I agree that the 3 batter rule makes them less valuable to a contending team, there are about 20 mlb squads that they can help right now. That is still a valuable asset. Besides the new rule says three batters or the end of the inning. Most loogy situations happen with 1 or 2 outs already. I don’t believe creative management isn’t possible here. Snit used Blevins “by the new rule” 27 out of 45 appearances. It can be done.

  12. Guys/gals, I just wanted everyone to know that I changed some of the links on the menu around and removed Braves Greatest 44 and Worst 64 of All-Time not because I didn’t like them, but rather it’s just a mess at this time. When I get time to order both correctly, we will find a good place for them.

    Any other suggestions to go on top of the menu?

  13. I’d decline the options on Teherán and Markakis and begrudgingly pick it up on Flowers, because, as Peanut wrote, you probably don’t want to go into the offseason searching for two catchers.

    I really hope they resign Donaldson or get a corner outfielder to replace his bat should he walk. The team would be foolish to start the 2020 season with Markakis in left field and Riley at third.

  14. The Bronx.

    Never mind the four errors. If there are two three run homers in the game and neither belong to you, you’re cooked.

    To redress, Stanton will try and DH tonight despite his 60% speed on the bases. CC threw his last pitch ever coming on late in relief but having to hobble off when something popped. Standing ovation, Springer in the OD circle enjoined.

    Home crowd devastated. Down 3-1 and Verlander tonight. Bye bye?

  15. Seeing the Yanks, Cards, and Dodgers go down is at least some solace…. Especially how the Dodgers got whipped.


    I guess it wasn’t just “one” bone spur, huh. Sounds like a lot of crap in that elbow.

    I cannot wait until Freddie has a FULL season of what we all know he is capable of (that Smoltz-like 24-win season). I hope getting over this will not only help his hitting but also his fielding. I wonder how many balls he couldn’t quite get to because the arm bugged him or how many throws he didn’t make.

  17. @18 I’d agree, they’ve almost got to exercise Flowers option. If you’re looking at a 2 million dollar buyout anyway, it comes down to is it essentially worth 4 million to know you have a catcher capable of starting on the roster. I think the answer is yes. You can still pursue an upgrade there while knowing you have a fallback plan.

    I’m also with you on Markakis. COF is an incredibly easy spot to fill affordably, and there are in house options. Just buy Nick out, and go with an OF of Acuna in RF, Ender in CF and a Joyce/Duvall platoon in LF. Resign JD for all the money, and go into the spring letting Riley try to earn an OF spot in ST. If he earns it, you can adjust. If not, send him to AAA and you’ve still got a capable OF for a season while they wait for Pache and Waters.

    I waffle on Tehran. He’s such a hard call. I’d have an easier time choosing a side if we knew what AA was thinking. I believe they need someone to pair with Sororka for a 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation. ::cough:: Gerritt Cole ::cough:: If they have zero intention of pursuing a guy of that nature though, then, well, I guess they need Tehran. He really just an innings eater. With so much youth on the staff, they almost need that however if they’re not adding a TOR arm.

  18. I really want them to re-up Donaldson and bring in Cole. I know that’s a HUGE financial obligation to take on, but they should be able. A payroll of 150-160 million isn’t unreasonable. And I know they’re not going to spend like the top 5 teams in the league, which is fine. If having those two guys on the 2020 team means cheaping out everywhere else, I wouldn’t complain.

  19. I’m not a big fan of pitch framing being a thing, but I can certainly see an argument that it has some effect. The thought that it adds two extra wins over the course of the season, though, seems nutty to me.

    Also, krussell is right that it needs to be cross-checked with whether or not umpires are actually giving the catcher/pitcher strikes off the plate.

  20. @24 Cheaping out everywhere else is literally what a rebuild is supposed to enable. We’ve hit on so many position prospects and appear poised to fill out the outfield (in due time) that I feel like some of these things we’re talking about are, like, a must. Throw stupid money at a generational talent like Cole. Give JD an extension right away if he’s at the table taking discounts to stay. Count all your savings across all the positions occupied by young talent and figure out if Cole or a combination of other acquisitions is going to move the needle.

    Cole isn’t the only option, but it’s imperative that he is an option in terms of the kind of spending it would take to be in that race. If they want to march to the same tune as last year and roll into next season on $120M budget, or whatever, I won’t be trumpeting their being in first place in July or whatever. It’s time to slam the door on the division before June and be talking about a World Series rather than division pennants and first round exits.

  21. Please no on JD. He’s 34 before next season and really wasn’t very good from about Sep 15 to the end of the play-off run. We really needed him to step up against the Cards and provide veteran leadership. Instead, he joined FF and Markakis in providing a black hole in the middle of the line-up. I’m sure AA can do better!

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