Quick Recap & Are Braves Planning to Up Payroll in 2022?


The Braves took down the Nationals in Game 1 of a 3 game series. Max Fried didn’t have his best but wiggled out of many binds. He finished 6 then Tyler Matzek nearly destroyed all hope, giving up 4 runs in 2/3 of an inning. Then, the savior of the bullpen, Luke Jackson came in and pitched 1 1/3 of delicious fear-inducing baseball. Will Smith then closed out the 9th but not before he took out his frustrations on Juan Soto‘s back. There’s history there and I fully expect the Nationals to retaliate tonight. Will Smith’s toddler tantrums and selfish motives need to be booted for the sake of the hitters’ healths.

Ozzie Albies and Adam Duvall were the offensive juggernauts of the night and drove in 7 of the 8 runs with a HR each. Ozzie’s was of unique variety as it came right-handed off of a RHP, his 2nd in 10 career plate appearances.

Are Braves Planning to Up Payroll in 2022?

The Braves are quietly building their roster for 2022 and have not shied away from spending money. After signing Travis d’Arnaud to a somewhat surprising 2 year/$16MM extension with an $8MM club option for 2024, the Braves also re-upped the steadiest presence in the Braves rotation.

While this might not seem like a big deal as of now, I’ll point you toward the Braves 2022 financial commitments:

Without even blinking, the Braves have committed $82.75MM to only 6 players. If the Braves (and the players) were to exercise the mutual options of Duvall, the payroll jump $4MM. For Joc, it would jump $7.5MM. Realistically, I think it’s highly likely that the Braves would bring back Duvall and less likely for Joc. Adding Duvall would make the Braves payroll jump to $86.75MM.

There’s hope that the Braves can get out from under Marcell Ozuna‘s contract for the 2022 season, but I’m not betting on it being the full season, rather it be an 80-100 game suspension (if any at all). So…$82.75MM and we’ve yet to touch a Freddie Freeman extension, arb-eligible players, and pre-arb players.

2022 Arb-Eligible Players

Due to the nature of the rebuild, the Braves have a laundry list of players that are arb-eligible at the same time. For some, they’re no brainer pickups and for others it’s weighing risk vs. reward. Here’s the list:


Breakdown: The Braves will likely let Yoan Lopez walk (or trade him) rather than go through arbitration and it’s looking likely that they’ll do the same for Sean Newcomb. The other 4 likely have a spot on the roster, with Riley and Matzek set to get hefty raises and/or extensions. Jacob Webb and Edgar Santana will see raises, but hardly enough to warrant panic, with their max being $1.2MM. My guess is the Braves try to lock up both Austin Riley and Tyler Matzek, with Riley getting a 5-6 year deal and Matzek a 2-3. Overall, I’d expect this group to make around $8-9MM total for the 2022 season.


Breakdown: Biddle’s played his last fiddle on the Braves MLB roster, but the other 4 will likely be back for the 2022 season with raises. Max Fried‘s arb-estimate is the real wild card here as it could be $6-7MM, or upwards of $9-10MM. My guess for this group would be somewhere between $15-17MM.


Breakdown: Arcia and Dayton are almost guaranteed non-tenders. Heredia, while unlikely, could find a role if the Braves want to keep Cristian Pache down for a little while longer. And, unless traded (highly unlikely), both Dansby and Luke will be back with the club with extensions being very possible. My guess for their arb-estimate is $14MM.

Adding In the Pre-Arbs

The Braves still have quite a few players that are in the pre-arb stages that are regular MLB contributors. That list:

Breakdown: Expect Alex Anthopoulos to continue being Alex Anthopoulos and jerk many of these players back and forth between MLB and AAA. Of the above 6, I’d wager that the Braves are done jerking Ian and Ynoa around (unless Ian’s velo concerns show injury) and those guys will essentially get a full pre-arb salary around $600K. The other 4 likely split time and earn a 1/2 MLB salary and 1/2 AAA salary. This crew probably makes $3MM for the 2022 season.

Adding it All Up

By this point, I guess one can see what I’m getting at. With some obvious holes to fill, the Braves look to have quite a lot of $ tied up to current players. If everything stands, it’s about $125MM for 22 players. Yes…there’s an obvious omission here and if you add said obvious omission, the payroll likely hits $150MM without any extra additions. I don’t think the Braves have any intention of letting the obvious omission walk and I’d also be willing to bet they add more in both hitting and pitching.

I’m optimistic…I also got a little birdy that whispers in my ear every now and again. That birdy’s sure been singing about adding payroll and I believe him.

My personal wish list is to bring back Jorge Soler, Adam Duvall, Ehire Adrianza, add a high-end reliever, and go get it.

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

53 thoughts on “Quick Recap & Are Braves Planning to Up Payroll in 2022?”

  1. It’s a typically ridiculous baseball beef that started over virtually nothing at all and ballooned into the two hating each other, clowning each other at every opportunity, and apparently plunking each other in the ribs (though that one can kind of only go one way, obviously).

  2. Thanks. Ridiculous. Juan Soto is a better baseball player than Will Smith. Smith needs to get his head out of his ass.

  3. What are the reasons why MLB doesn’t do more to crack down on vigilantism that could endanger players’ health/careers and teams’ seasons? If a sufficient quantity of players are going to be morons, don’t owners collectively have an incentive to push MLB to do more to protect their investments?

    Is the rationale that, in a situation such as this, Will Smith’s intent is tough to discern, or something? I must be missing something here.

  4. How old are you, Fun Police? Because at 65, I find myself saying “I must be missing something here” more and more every day. About 1/4 of the time I’m actually missing something, and the fraction falls every year.

  5. Frenchy says in the article that Will Smith has given up homeruns before…ya think? He gives them up like it is what he is supposed to do. Will Smith has become indefensible in so many ways. The fact that one of his guys is going to get hit because he is a baby would tee me off as a teammate.

  6. Old enough to know:
    – not to reveal personal details on the internet if I can avoid it
    – that I am usually missing something

  7. @7

    My guess is that if they decided to toss and suspend every pitcher who likely hit a batter on purpose for 10 games, they’re worried they’d catch a couple of pitchers who legitimately weren’t trying to hit the guy in the crossfire. But I’d say that’s what the appeals process is for.

  8. JonathanF

    I’m 62 and I ask myself that question multiple times a day as well. I know so much more that I did 30 years ago but the less I know for sure. I live in a world that is very grey, and I’m learning to be ok with that.

  9. MLB could establish a “Don Mattingly” rule where, if you exceed a set number of altercations with another player, you lose the benefit of the doubt should anything happen in the future and you/your team can be subject to far bigger, escalating penalties.

    You’d have to define what an altercation is, keep stats on them, etc. I guess MLB would have to create and empower an Office of Beefs to do investigations. Hey, more jobs for soon-to-be-former umpires.

  10. @13

    Isn’t caring everything? And if and when we stop, what are we? In my eighties I find myself caring more but less and less able to do anything about it. Not a good bind to find yourself in. Or a cop out maybe.

  11. Part of caring effectively is being judicious about what you care about.

    You know, like sports teams you have no control over and that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

  12. Can someone make a good faith argument that Touki has been better than Sean Newcomb was as a starter?

  13. I’m going to respond to my own question with a comparison of Touki and Sean Newcomb. Of the 30 starts Sean Newcomb made in 2018 before he was banished to the pen in early 2019, 15 (50%) had a Game Score of 60 or higher. Assuming Touki doesn’t have a Game Score of 60 tonight, Touki will have only 3 of his 9 (33%) starts with a Game Score above 60.

    Meanwhile, PROVEN WINNER Drew Smyly is rotting in the pen. I’m just kidding; I’ve wanted Smyly in the pen since the beginning. But Touki not throwing strikes makes him much closer to Sean Newcomb than a reliable starting pitcher.

  14. I can make a good faith argument that Touki has a better chance of being good going forward than Newcombe does, in that we have more data about Newcombe.

    But certainly if Touki ever has a year as good as Newcombe’s 2019 that’s a win.

    EDIT: I hate all of this talk from Francoeur and Chip about when it’s justified to hit someone else with a thrown pitch. It’s not.

  15. Washington responds to a reliever throwing at Soto by burning their starting pitcher in the first inning.

  16. @24 If Touki has a year like fellow 25-year old Newcomb had in 2018, that would also be a win.

    I love Touki, and I’m cheering for him. But this is more of a weeeeird double standard that Atlanta has had with one 25-year old fireballer who couldn’t throw strikes and another 25-year old fireballer who can’t throw strikes. And the one they banished was a lefty. I’ll never understand the Newcomb Era.

  17. To be fair, I’d rather go with the bullpen than Nolin if I were Dave Martinez.

  18. @27 I dunno if you mean the ATL journalists or something else, but I was pretty enamored with Newcombe for awhile myself. I wanna give Touki a shot at being a frontline starter because I am attracted to shiny things. We gave Newcombe enough shots that his shine wore off.

    EDIT: I do like Freddie chatting up Soto. Also, Freddie totally beat that throw.

  19. Toe’s on the bag, ball’s not in the glove — and he’s out. Kill replay with fire.

  20. Touki will never be consistent enough to be relevant in a starter role .. he is in same boat as Wright … Smiley has been better

  21. I wonder if a guy ever got thrown out of a game only to have the other team request that he be allowed to stay in.

  22. It gets less fun in the playoffs, but there’s something deeply satisfying about a team that can run into a bad pitch at any time.

  23. @30, that ump may be trying to hit all the combinations. The next time it was toe’s off the bag, ball’s in the glove – and he’s out. Angel Hernandez must be contagious.

  24. Mets lose. Diaz’ motion on the last pitch was classic. He thought he had a short fly that caromed off the wall.

  25. The ambulatory cactus posing as a TV play-by-play announcer opened the seventh inning by bleating something about how both teams being in their bullpens would favor the Braves, so you have to figure an Atlanta bullpen loss is incoming.

  26. for what it’s worth, might be a late night at the US Open (tennis): Djokovic split the first two sets.

  27. True, but in the suspended game against the Padres we’re behind by a run or two with just a couple of innings left, so most likely 2 & 4 up in the loss column, respectively.

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