Braves Roster and Payroll Update

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Yesterday, the Braves went 2 for 4 by inking A.J. Minter and Max Fried to 2021 contracts and avoiding arbitration. Unfortunately, the Braves, who are a file and trial team, could not reach agreements with Dansby Swanson and Mike Soroka and will therefore continue toward arbitration unless an extension of some sort is worked out. In my opinion, both guys are extension candidates and it would be great to see something get worked out before the ugliness of arbitration occurs. Today’s Braves Roster and Payroll Update will focus on the bottom line and guess what is left for the Braves to spend either in trade or through free agency.

Derailing the main thought here for just a sec, the Braves dipped back into the high end of the international market by pushing in almost their entire bonus pool ($1.57MM) by signing 18 year old Ambioris Tavares to a $1.5MM contract. Matt Powers, an opinion on the minors that I respect as much as David Lee’s, had this to say about Taveras: “It almost reminds me of a young Javier Baez in the impressive right handed bat speed in a frame that’s not huge.”

Braves Payroll Update

The Braves have added no free agents since our last update, but 2 settled contracts and 2 high/low numbers provide a little more clarity on how much the Braves have to spend for the rest of the 2021 season.

Braves Guaranteed Contracts

  1. Freddie Freeman: $22.5 MM
  2. Charlie Morton: $15MM
  3. Will Smith: $13MM
  4. Drew Smyly: $11MM
  5. Ender Inciarte: $8.7MM
  6. Travis D’Arnaud: $8MM
  7. Chris Martin: $7MM
  8. Ronald Acuna Jr.$5MM
  9. Ozzie Albies: $3MM
  10. Josh Tomlin: $1MM

Total: $94.2MM for 10 Players

Braves Payroll: Arb-Eligible Players (Estimates)

  1. Dansby Swanson: $6MM or $6.7MM
  2. Max Fried: $3.5MM
  3. Mike Soroka: $2.1 or $2.8MM
  4. Luke Jackson: $1.9MM
  5. Johan Camargo: $1.36MM
  6. A.J. Minter:$1.3MM
  7. Grant Dayton: $900K
  8. Abraham Almonte: $990K

Subtotal: $18.05MM or $19.45 MM for 8 players

Total:$112.25MM or $113.75MM for 18 players

Braves Payroll: Pre-Arb Players

  1. Tyler Matzek
  2. Jacob Webb
  3. Austin Riley
  4. Sean Newcomb
  5. Touki Toussaint
  6. Kyle Wright
  7. Jeremy Walker
  8. Chad Sobotka
  9. Jack Mayfield
  10. Phil Pfeifer
  11. Bryse Wilson
  12. Ian Anderson
  13. William Contreras
  14. Tucker Davidson
  15. Jasseel De La Cruz
  16. Alex Jackson
  17. Kyle Muller
  18. Cristian Pache
  19. Patrick Weigel
  20. Huascar Ynoa

Subtotal: ~$4 to 4.5MM for 7-8 players

Total: ~$117-$118.5MM for 25-26 players

Holes Left to Fill: Utility Infielder, Outfielder, and at least 1 Right-handed Reliever

There’s hope. If the Braves had been able to play a 162 game season in 2020, the payroll would’ve been pushing $160MM. If that number is still the bar, the Braves should have money to spend.

Thanks for reading on Braves Roster and Payroll Update. If you enjoyed this piece, check out our hypothetical trade series of which all 11 pieces are linked here.

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

20 thoughts on “Braves Roster and Payroll Update”

  1. Tfloyd says:
    January 16, 2021 at 7:49 am
    McLouth was not just terrible; he was almost uniquely terrible in the Braves annals of terribleness. It’s not just that he was so awful after the Braves traded for him. He was actually pretty good before the trade, and he could have filled a glaring need for the Braves. But as we know he fell straight over the cliff when he joined our side.

    But JonathanF and I remember the 1980’s and Chuck Tanner. Even Louth can’t hold a candle to that debacle.

    (And because it’s a new year and I’m trying to look forward, the return of Charlie Morton all these years later may serve as some sort of absolution for the trade)

  2. I get the feeling that AA is going to get a good player but will slow play both the trade market and the free agent market. Also, I wouldn’t put it past him to grab a 3B and move Austin Riley to LF for 1 year.

  3. I think you’re right that it’s certainly possible that AA gets a 3B, shifting Riley to OF. But boy did he stink out there last year. He just couldn’t read the ball at all. As a left fielder, he’s a pretty good third baseman.

  4. tfloyd is correct, and I would also add that we had 361 games of Tanner and ‘only’ 166 games of McLouth.

  5. Can we not just trade Mr. Swanson? Please?

    Extend Freddie and Soroka. Dump Dansby and sign a free agent. I have one in mind but will not complain if one of the others is signed instead, but please do not extend Swanson.

  6. Ah coop–it’s reassuring that in this world of flux and impermanence, some things remain stable. Your opinion of Dansby is a fixed lodestar.

  7. 28 days til pitchers and catchers report, I think. The college football season ended last week, and I already miss sports. I’m watching the Bucs game tonight, and I don’t even know why.

  8. @11

    30/20 Bucs Rob, that’s why. Good game in fact, Bucs had lost both of their regular season games against them which might cause your reluctance to watch a third. Brady classy.

  9. “River Deep – Mountain High” is an incredible song, but what a damaged man he was.

  10. I’m a little shocked by the Swanson hating. Did we not watch the same season? In a season with some big injuries he was a steadying force almost all year. He may not be flashy with the glove but he really good and consistent.
    If Acuna and Albies weren’t already signed I could see the hesitation with extending him. I don’t think signing him and/or Soroka and Fried are mutually exclusive. If they could only do 2 then yeah he’s the odd man out because (knock on wood) it’s starting to appear like we might be looking at Atlanta’s new “Big 3”Starting Pitchers (ie Maddux, Glavine &Smoltz) those 2 along with Ian Anderson. {Sidetracked: But How nasty are they? Lol}

    Also…one more thing… I really hope Riley figures it out this year . A slick fielding, power hitting 3rd baseman is something every team wants and I hope he comes around.

    Money wise through some brilliant decisions to sign 2 of the studs to long term team friendly deals hopefully they have enough so that they can afford to pay Freddie (I can’t imagine a world, nor do I want to live in one where Freeman isn’t a Brave) and have some left over for a couple of these guys

  11. At this point, Swanson is probably an above average SS. He was 6th amongst shortstops in fWAR last year. If you think his .810 OPS was a fluke, then sure, but there’s no denying that he’s now a very good shortstop. If he has another season like 2020, then I think you definitely extend him, especially if there’s a hometown discount.

    I’ve said that we’re running out of positions to put an elite player at, so I’ve thought that trading Dansby in a deal to get a truly elite SS would make sense, but that’s the extent of any desire to not have him around.

    Agreed on Riley. There’s simply no one you could plug in at 3B that’s remotely attainable that has the upside that Riley has. Maybe his bat doesn’t develop. Likely, even. But you’d be silly to not go for the home run ball at 3B (see what I did there?) by running him out there.

  12. (Note: no relation to poster #15) If they could lock in Dansby for 3 years with a team option for a fourth, which I think would be buying out his last two years of team control and covering one or two of free agency, I’d be fine with that. He’ll turn 27 next month, so that would be his 27-29/30 years. I wouldn’t want to commit to him any longer than that.

    Confirming my impression, he does seem to have hit well in some clutch situations. I’m not saying that that predicts anything, but it does suggest that his value in past years has been a bit higher than his overall slash line or WAR show. His 2 out RISP numbers aren’t anything special, but in 330 late & close PA, he’s batted .340 with a .913 OPS. In 314 PA with margins of over 4 runs, he’s batted .211 with a .610 OPS. Similarly, his high-, medium-, and low-leverage OPSes are .843, .754, and .629, respectively.

  13. In 2004, in the A-Rod for Alfonso Soriano trade, the Rangers were given a list of PTBNL options that included a future All-Star that the Rangers did not choose. Who was he?

  14. @18 And if you look it up and then ruin it for everyone, then you are bad and you should feel bad.

  15. Swanson is good enough to win with as the pandemic season just proved, so just give him his $6MM or $6.7MM and know that’s cheap in baseball in these times. Andrelton Simmons annual average salary with ATL was $8,285,714 on his seven year deal. Swanson is no Simmons but we know that. ALSO: So long and happy trails DON SUTTON! Opening day 2021 in ATL should be HONOR DON SUTTON DAY! Ernie, Skip, Pete, and now Don … All of them gone now … So sad. I grew up listening to them and miss/love them all.

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