It’s never too early to look toward next year, especially when the 2020 MLB season is in jeopardy of not even being a thing (my opinion, now, is that we see baseball at some point this year). The Braves signed a lot of free agents this offseason, some to multi-year deals, some to 1-year “prove-it” deals. For this exercise, we will look at committed money for 2021, arb-eligible players, as well as pre-arbitration guys to get a feel of what the Atlanta Braves 2021 payroll currently looks like, and use the 2020 season payroll as a baseline for 2021. That baseline is roughly 150 million.
Leaving via Free Agency
Atlanta Braves 2021 Payroll: Committed Salaries
- Freddie Freeman: 22.5MM
- Will Smith: 13MM
- Travis d’Arnaud: 8MM
- Ender Inciarte: 8.7 MM
- Chris Martin: 7MM
- Ronald Acuna Jr.: 5MM
- Ozzie Albies: 3MM
- Darren O’Day: *3.5MM (0.5MM buyout)
*Total: 71.2 MM (assuming Braves pick up O’Day’s option)
Atlanta Braves 2021 Payroll: Arbitration Eligible
What does arbitration look like if a season that doesn’t happen? The best answer I can get is that 2 things would likely happen:
- All arbitration eligible players will receive a full year of MLB service time.
- Arbitration would have to roll back clock and project from 2019 results.
Assuming thats the case, here’s my best guess on 2021 arb-salaries without a 2020 season:
- Touki Toussaint- 850K
- Mike Soroka- 4.2 MM
- A.J. Minter- 850K
- Max Fried- 3.8 MM
- Sean Newcomb- 2.2 MM
- Johan Camargo- 2.2 MM
- Dansby Swanson- 4.4 MM
- Adam Duvall- 4.5 MM
- Luke Jackson- 2.8 MM
- Mike Foltynewicz- 7.8 MM
Subtotal: 33.6 MM
Accumulated Total for 18 players: 104.8 MM
2021 Atlanta Braves Pre-Arbitration Players
Without knowing what the Minor Leagues will look like at this point for the 2020 season, I think we can make a few assumptions about the 2021 team.
- Shea Langeliers likely takes Tyler Flowers spot.
- Cristian Pache likely takes one OF spot.
- Both Tucker Davidson and Ian Anderson land roster spots.
- 1-2 other pre-arb players will make the team.
Subtotal: 6 players at pre-arb rate of ~550K: 3.3 MM
Accumulated Total for 24 players: 108.1 MM
Money to Spend: ~42 MM
2021 Projected Atlanta Braves Depth Chart
Starting Pitcher: Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Kyle Wright, Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Ian Anderson
Bullpen: Will Smith, Luke Jackson, Darren O’Day, Tucker Davidson, A.J. Minter, Touki Toussaint, Patrick Weigel,
Infield: Travis d’Arnaud, Shea Langeliers, Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley, Johan Camargo
Outfield: Cristian Pache, Ronald Acuña Jr, Ender Inciarte, Adam Duvall
*24 of 26 positions filled
Thoughts on 2021
While I’m not going to get into specifics of deals or trades that could happen, here are my thoughts on moves that make sense for the 2021 team:
- Ender Inciarte will get traded. I’ve discussed the redundancy of Ender numerous times and with Pache likely ready to begin the 2021 season, it might finally happen.
- Mike Foltynewicz will get traded. 7-8 million is a lot to give a guy that’s a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde pitcher, and if 2020 gets cancelled, I’d be willing to bet the Braves add a veteran starting pitcher to the young foursome above.
- Adam Duvall will get traded and/or DFA’d. Like Folty, Duvall’s salary doesn’t seem justifiable as he’s just not a sure thing.
- Freddie Freeman gets extended through 2025. I think it’s safe to say that both the organization and Freddie wants this to happen and 1 year before the deal is up makes sense.
- Braves go big with a trade. The ‘20-’21 team isn’t loaded with high-end talent outside of a few names (J.T. Realmuto, Mookie Betts, Marcus Semien), and the Braves will be busting at the seams with 40-man talent.
- Nick Markakis will be on the team. Get used to it.
With not many holes to fill, an abundant amount of resources, trades that could open up big-time dollars for a high-salary trade and/or free agent signing (I’ll dream on Mookie Betts until he goes elsewhere), the window wide open.
Thanks for reading an early look at the Braves 2021 Payroll. We’ve been hitting Braves History hard lately, so check out some of our best/worst trades in Braves History here.