Arbitration is always a more stressful time than you would prefer if you are either a fan of a given player/team or if you are one of the actual parties involved. If you are a fan, you worry that an acrimonious arbitration hearing will spoil the two sides’ relationship which might mean losing a player you like down the line. For both players and teams, they are doing their best to essentially put a player’s value on trial to get the best deal and that can lead to less than desirable outcomes on both sides.
That is why it was at least good news that the Braves and Max Fried as well as AJ Minter came to terms thereby avoiding all of that arbitration hearing nonsense. Both guys were very good last year and both guys got nice little raises. No big deal.
However, there are two other, weirder cases that the Braves are going to have to head to arbitration hearings in Mike Soroka and Dansby Swanson. Dansby has had stretches where he looks great at the plate and other stretches where he looks...less than great. How to value those spikes in production is going to feature prominently in his hearing. Soroka is even a weirder as, despite the fact that he got Super Two arbitration status, he hasn’t even made 40 starts in the big leagues yet and he has a shoulder muscle injury and a blown Achilles on his ledger now. We doubt the Braves are looking to piss either of these guys off with their arbitration offers, but them having to go to a third party is already less than ideal.
In other news, the international free agency period officially opened up and SURPRISE...the Braves have a new prospect in Ambioris Tavarez. Matt has been chomping at the bit to talk about this guy, so make sure to take a look at his deep dive into Taverez and why the Braves paid $1.5 million to sign him. For those of you that are asking...yes, he would very likely make our Top 30 list if we were to make it today...my best guess is somewhere in the late teens to early 20’s or something like that. If you need a quick primer of how the IFA period works and what the Braves have to work with (or lack thereof), here is a quick primer to get you caught up.
Other than all of the folks who settled to avoid arbitration, which we will cover in a second, the biggest news from Friday is that it looks like DJ LeMahieu and the Yankees are close to a reunion that will keep him in New York until his late thirties. LeMahieu has been great, but one wonders what the last couple of years of that deal will look like.
As for all of the arbitration settlements, there were a whole bunch of them. Some were more interesting than other in terms of the impacts they had on their teams’ finances, but to help with the nitty gritty ‘who settled for how much’ content that frankly most of you care about the most, here is a tracker that has all of that information in one place.