Arbitration Eligibles: Atlanta Braves

The Braves are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series.  Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

Let's begin with the Braves' three arbitration eligible starting pitchers.  Jurrjens, 27 in January, spent the 2011-12 offseason immersed in trade rumors and was demoted to Triple-A four starts into this season.  He rejoined the club in June, and after six more starts was moved to a relief role.  A DL stint for a groin strain capped off the lost season and his Braves career.  Most expect Jurrjens to be non-tendered at the end of the month.  It's worth noting that if there is a team that valued Ervin Santana at $12MM, there might be one that values Jurrjens at less than half that salary.

Jurrjens' move to the bullpen was tied to Medlen's promotion to the rotation.  The 27-year-old was ridiculously good in 12 starts, posting a 0.97 ERA, 9.0 K/9, 1.1 BB/9, and 0.54 HR/9.  He'd undergone Tommy John surgery in August 2010, and initially returned to the Majors in a relief role.  Medlen was so good as a starter that the Braves lined him up to start their play-in game against the Cardinals.  If the Braves are sold, they could consider locking Medlen up to a Johnny Cueto-type contract, four years and $27-30MM plus a club option.

Hanson, 26, pitched better than his 4.48 ERA but allowed a lot of hits and home runs in a disappointing campaign.  The team's Opening Day starter, he missed some time with a back strain this season and his average fastball velocity fell below 90 miles per hour for the first season in his career.  He still managed a healthy strikeout rate at 8.3 per nine innings.  The Braves were unable to dump Jurrjens before his value tanked; now they must assess Hanson's value for the next three seasons and determine a course of action.  In the short-term, he'll obviously be tendered a contract.

Prado had a strong year primarily as the team's left fielder, providing value on both offense and defense.  It seems likely the 29-year-old will move to third base for 2013, with Chipper Jones retiring.  Prado is entering his walk year, and the Braves could try to lock him up in the range of Howie Kendrick's four-year, $33.5MM contract.

Heyward is arbitration eligible for the first time, fresh off the best season of his young career.  Nick Markakis' six-year, $66.1MM extension would be a solid target, though that deal was done nearly four years ago so the Braves may have to do better.  Janish began the season at Triple-A in the Reds' organization, missed a month with a broken wrist, and was dealt to Atlanta in mid-July.  His season ended in September with a dislocated shoulder, and he's a non-tender candidate.

In the bullpen, O'Flaherty, Venters, and Martinez are in good standing.  O'Flaherty, 28 in February, is entering a contract year.  The Braves could look to tack on a free agent year.  Moylan had shoulder surgery in September 2011 and signed a minor league deal to return to the Braves in January.  He wouldn't cost a lot through arbitration, but is a candidate to be non-tendered if the Braves would prefer to have the roster spot open for now.

If only Prado, Hanson, O'Flaherty, Heyward, Medlen, Venters, and Martinez are tendered contracts, the Braves are looking at an estimated $23.1MM for seven players.

Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available exclusively at MLB Trade Rumors.  To read more about his projection model, check out this series of posts.

13 Responses to Arbitration Eligibles: Atlanta Braves Leave a Reply

  1. Jwick22 3 years ago

    Hanson has to get his fastball back on track. Even with it in the 88-89 range he is awesome the first couple times through the line up then it becomes batting practice. He isnt the first braves pitcher to lose some speed on his fastball. But it has really showed up on him. Getting out of the 5th inning with him seems impossible

    • He needs to learn a Sinker or something. He doesn’t blow people away anymore for whatever reason but still has good stuff. If he can get hitters to start pounding the ball into the dirt rather than crushing them over the wall he’d still be a solid 4/5.

      • Jwick22 3 years ago

        Im still holding out hope that his fastball can regain life. He is still young so maybe its something they can figure out. At this point being a solid 4/5 sounds good but he had the stuff to be a stud. Alot of players never reach their potential but he did show that he could be dominate. Luckly other guys have made this not that big of deal

  2. sherrilltradedooverexperience 3 years ago

    If Atlanta adds wisely to its infield and outfield it will be good for a long stretch again. Not quite sure who that person(s) would be, but if they package their excess pitching they can get almost anyone. Chippers don’t grow on trees but third, short, second, left field, and center are all opportunities to add that third lineup threat to go with Freeman and Heyward (and Prado who’s already in his prime as a good, versatile player).

    • stl_cards16 3 years ago

      The excess pitching is pretty much gone. I’m not saying they couldn’t trade for a solid bat this offseason, but the days of every trade rumor starting with young Braves pitchers is over.

      • -C 3 years ago

        There are still a lot of highly valued prospects in that system, far more than with most organizations. Some pitchers lost their luster last season, but others greatly improved their value.

        Mike Minor, for instance, killed his value in May and June but more than made up for it with a killer second half. Delgado or Teheran could easily do the same and rebuild their value…and then you still have Medlen, Beachy, Gilmartin, Spruill, Graham, et al.

        The cupboard is far from bare.


    • CT 3 years ago

      I disagree with SS and 2nd as opportunities to add pieces. Uggla because of his contract and Simmons because he’s young and plays GG defense are entrenched at 2nd and SS.

    • Cory Taylor 3 years ago

      Two words Chase Headley. He would be perfect for our organiztion for years to come. Give San Diego practically whatever they want for him and sign him to an extension. That would set Atlanta up for a long time

  3. fireboss 3 years ago

    Always enjoy these posts as the model used is accurate and the view unbiased. Having said that one of the problems with any model is that it under values a players who don’t fit neatly into a slot. In this case a pitcher like Medlen is neither a starter or reliever in your model because of the way the Braves used him. But he’s always been a starter waiting his chance and had it until injury set him back. He’s Maddux-esque type starter; a smart pitcher who pitches to his plan and makes hitters do what he wants most of the time and worth more than $2M next year. Hanson on the other hand is a broken starter. While the numbers say he isn’t bad the eyes say he needs to fix things. He isn’t a cerebral pitcher nor does he have the pinpoint control needed to get by on lesser stuff. Without a blow it by them FB he has no out pitch. He’s not seen eye to eye with McDowell – pouted when sent out on a rehab assignment didn’t embrace changes that might have improved his performance given a chance – on ways to adapt and regain his mojo for want of a better word as an elite starter. He needs a change of coach and scenery.

    Paul Janish will be back. The Braves loved his defense and he wasn’t as awful at the plate after a few weeks with Walker. Besides they have no one they want to rely on in the event Simmons gets injured again.

    Prado’s play is far superior to Kendrick who was limited to a single position. Earlier here MLBTR compared him to Alex Gordon which was closer but still fails to account for his versatility and ability on both sides of the ball. He should get at least 5 years and 55M+.

    I wrote about a lot of this in detail and how the MIBTR estimates related to the Braves if anyone is interested. link to

    @ sherrilltradedooverexperience Third, second left and center are all targets of opportunity to improve but Simmons is the shortstop of the future. He’s brilliant with the glove, has a sniper rifle arm (more accurate than a canon) and will become a good number one or two hitter as he matures.

    • why keep janish? Simmons is the future at that spot.

      • fireboss 3 years ago

        Who backs up Simmons? Pastornicky isn’t the guy and they have no one else. Before you say “Prado” If they move Prado to third as I expect they can’t keep moving him around besides Prado is a short term answer there and Janish is as slick with a glove as they come to backup 2nd, ss and third.

        • DerangedAngry Hilbilly 3 years ago

          I would prefer they non-tender Janish and pursue a backup who offers more than just single position glovework. someone like Sean Rodriguez or Macier Isturiz would fit in pretty well.

          • fireboss 3 years ago

            Izturus earned 3.5M last year not the going rate for a backup infielder. The braves like Janish because he played so well when Simba was out. Rodiriguez I only know by reputation But I see no reason why Janish would be the the man over someone they don’t know. It’s the way the Braves operate; Jack Wilson was returned even though there were better out there and historically they hang on to those that perform for them; sometimes they hang on to those who don’t too.

            I won;t cry in Janish leave but Wren gave up a pitcher for him I bet he gives him at least one more season. Nick Ahmed will be close then if not traded. The only Rays players I covet – aside from Longoria – are James Shields and David Price. As much as I love Medlen, Minor, and Hudson post season’s are won by power pitchers; the guy who throws hi shat on the mound and the other team knows it will be a bad day. We haven’t had that since Smoltz. That’s one of the big reasons the Rangers didn’t make it this year.

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