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Braves Offer Arbitration to Relievers Gonzalez and Soriano

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In a move that many expected, the Atlanta Braves have offered salary arbitration to their two closers from last year, Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano. The two now have a couple of weeks to accept of decline the offer of arbitration. If either player signs with another team the Braves will receive the other team's first or second round pick as well as a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds of next summer's draft.

The Braves declined to offer arbitration to first baseman Adam LaRoche and left fielder Garret Anderson. The LaRoche decision is surprising as it leaves Atlanta without a fall-back option at first base should they not land another free agent or player via trade, but he may have made as much as $10 million in an arbitration decision, so the team likely could not have afforded to let him re-sign.

Gonzalez and Soriano, meanwhile, would likely cost much less than $10 million if they accept arbitration, but it is thought that they will find plenty of bidders for their services on the free agent market. It was thought that the Braves would try to re-sign at least one of the relievers, believed to be Gonzalez, but that was before he retained Scott Boras as his new agent. It is now viewed that both relievers are out of the range of what the Braves would be willing to offer in terms of years on a contract and money per year.

This decision also allows the Braves to seek two type-A free agents of their own without the risk of any net loss in high-round draft picks next year.