Atlanta Braves: Locking down the 2018 arb eligibles

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 11: Mike Foltynewicz
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 11: Mike Foltynewicz /
Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves /

The Atlanta Braves locked down three more arbitration-eligible players for 2018, while Mike Foltynewicz gambles on himself

The Atlanta Braves have officially avoided arbitration with three of their four arbitration-eligible players for 2018.  

Meanwhile, Mike Foltynewicz will go to trial to resolve his arbitration case.

Each of the three players that reached an agreement before the Friday deadline – relievers Sam Freeman (who agreed Thursday night), Daniel Winkler, and Arodys Vizcaino – came in under MLBTR’s projections.  

Vizcaino yielded the most substantial payday of the group at $3.4MM, a shade under his $3.7MM projection.  He graduated from set-up man to closer mid-season when the wheels fell off for current Angel Jim Johnson.  Vizcaino appeared in a career-high 62 games, going 5-3 with a 2.83 ERA, 14 saves, and 1.7 bWAR.

Winkler, the unique case of an arb-eligible rookie still under Rule 5 consideration, pulled in $610,000.  His short track record – as well as a lengthy injury history – gave the Braves the majority of the leverage.  Accordingly, he came in $190,000 under projections.  Winkler’s 0.5 bWAR in 14.1 innings in 2017 is a positive sign for the future, not just for the Braves on the field, but also for Winkler in his wallet.

Sam Freeman, the southpaw reliever, outperformed expectations and will earn $1.075M in 2018. Freeman was one of the feel-good stories of the 2017 Braves.  He was rather reliable for the Braves, going 2-0 with a 2.55 ERA and 1.5 bWAR.  Along with A.J. Minter and Rex Brothers, Freeman could be part of a formidable lefty trio in 2018.

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Reliever Chase Whitley, claimed from the Rays earlier in the offseason, settled his arbitration case in December for $1M – right at his projection.

Foltynewicz will be the second Brave to see an arbitration hearing since 2001, joining Mike Minor.  The figures which were exchanged have not yet been made public, but the enigmatic hurler has decided to roll the dice for a bit more cash.  Unless they can extend him to a multi-year deal before his trial, the Braves will remain firm in the standoff, as is their policy.

Going strictly off the projections, the Braves have saved $615,000 on these 2018 salaries.  For Freeman, Vizcaino, Winkler, and Whitley, projections sat at $6.7MM; between them, these four pulled in $6,085,000.  

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For the amount of cash, the Atlanta Braves took on to purge Matt Kemp from the books, every little bit counts.