The Atlanta Braves have just a few days left to avoid arbitration with four players or proceed with the process. Friday is the day that teams and arbitration eligible players will exchange salary figures.
The Braves began the offseason with eight players who were arbitration eligible. Among those were first baseman Matt Adams, starter Mike Foltynewicz, relievers Sam Freeman, Arodys Vizcaino, Rex Brothers and Daniel Winkler along with utility players Jace Peterson and Danny Santana.
Atlanta elected to non-tender Adams, Peterson and Santana trimming the list to just four. As part of that announcement, the team announced that it had claimed reliever Chris Whitley off of waivers from Tampa Bay and avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal. The team also reached a non-guaranteed deal with Brothers.
Here is a closer look at Atlanta’s four remaining arbitration eligible players.
Foltynewicz is the biggest name on this list and is due a significant raise. After making $544,000 in 2017, MLB Trade Rumors projects a $2.7 million salary in arbitration for 2018.
His 2017 season could best be described as inconsistent. He flashed top of the rotation type of stuff but struggled with consistency. His best month came in June when he posted a 2.97 ERA and struck out 35 in 36.1 innings. However, he struggled in August and only somewhat righted the ship over the final month before a cut on his finger ended his season about two weeks early.
It felt like Foltynewicz took a step forward in 2017 but there is still work there to be done.
Arodys Vizcaino began the 2017 season as a setup option but eventually replaced Jim Johnson as the team’s closer. There were some ups and downs along the way but for the most part, Vizcaino did the job well. He posted a 2.83 ERA in 62 games and reduced his walk rate by nearly one per nine innings.
Vizcaino made just over $1.5 million in 2017, MLB Trade Rumors pegs him for a $3.7 million salary in 2018.
Sam Freeman was a rare good surprise for Atlanta’s bullpen in 2017. He came out of nowhere and established himself as a solid left handed option. He held left handed hitters to just a .190 average and held his own against right handed hitters as well.
The question for Freeman is, can he duplicate that success in 2018? MLB Trade Rumors projects a $1.2 million salary for Freeman in 2018.
Daniel Winkler made it all the way back to the major leagues in 2017 and was impressive in a short stint in Atlanta’s bullpen. He appeared in 16 games and limited opposing hitters to a .152 average. The problem is, he just hasn’t been healthy enough to truly show his value. Winkler was a Rule-5 pick by the Braves in 2015 and has thrown a combined 19.1 innings in the majors due to injury. You have to admire his resolve to work his way back and the Braves have invested quite a bit in keeping him around.
MLB Trade Rumors projects Winkler for an $800,000 salary in 2018.