The Braves are next in our 2012 Contract Issues series.
Eligible For Free Agency (3)
- Veteran relievers Scott Linebrink and George Sherrill will be free agents, so the Braves figure to dabble in the relief market again.
- Shortstop Alex Gonzalez might be worth re-signing if the Braves want an affordable shortstop, unless they feel Tyler Pastornicky is ready.
Contract Options (2)
- Nate McLouth: $10.65MM club option with a $1.25MM buyout. This figures to be declined.
- Eric Hinske: $1.5MM club option with a $100K buyout. There's a good chance the Braves pick this one up.
Arbitration Eligible (5)
- First year: Kris Medlen (has a shot at Super Two)
- Second year: Jair Jurrjens, Martin Prado, Eric O'Flaherty
- Third year: Peter Moylan
Jurrjens will be the best-paid of the group, with $6MM a possibility depending on how this season goes. The Braves' arbitration eligible players could cost around $15MM in total.
2012 Payroll Obligation
The Braves' 2012 payroll obligation, according to Cot's, is $62.742MM excluding Hinske's buyout. Add in Hinske and the arbitration eligible players and you're in the $80MM range. That'd leave $15MM to spend assuming payroll is around $95MM. The Braves could add $6-15MM in flexibility (minus the salaries of the players coming back) by trading Jurrjens, Tim Hudson, or Derek Lowe, as they have great rotation depth. They might be in the market for a shortstop, a center fielder, and a reliever or two.