Ahead of Friday’s non-tender deadline, David O’Brien of The Athletic reports that the Braves and left-handed reliever Jonny Venters have come to terms on a deal for the 2019 season that will allow them to avoid the arbitration process.
#Braves signed LH Jonny Venters to a one-year, $2.25M deal, avoiding arbitration. He's one year from free agency.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) November 30, 2018
Due to a lengthy layoff due to myriad injuries, Venters was arbitration-eligible for a third time this season, despite making his major league debut in 2010 and on the cusp of playing in his age-34 season. The left-handed reliever was named the National League Comeback Player of the Year last week after returning to a major league mound following a half-decade hiatus.
Venters pitched pretty well in relief last season, with an 89 ERA-, 85 FIP-, and 92 xFIP- across 50 appearances. 22 of those appearances came after a midseason trade that sent him from Tampa Bay to Atlanta, where he spent the first four years of his major league career. He also made two postseason appearances for the Braves, and was charged with the game-tying and go-ahead runs that knocked Atlanta out of the playoffs (though he wasn’t on the mound when the runs scored).
Venters’ salary for 2018 will be $2.25 million, which isn’t that much for a player in his final year of arbitration. As a point of curiosity, however, it comes well above MLB Trade Rumors’ estimated $1.5 million salary for his services for 2019. Venters becomes only the eighth player with a locked-in salary figure for the Braves’ 2019 campaign at this point, joining Josh Donaldson ($23M), Freddie Freeman ($21.4M), Julio Teheran ($11M), Darren O’Day ($9M), Ender Inciarte ($6M), Tyler Flowers ($4M), and Brian McCann ($2M).
Also worth noting is that Venters is not guaranteed his full $2.25 million salary until he makes the Opening Day roster. Stay tuned for further updates on the Braves’ remaining arbitration-eligible players.