ATLANTA -- Chris Withrow entered this past season hoping to distance himself from Tommy John surgery while establishing himself as a reliable late-innings threat in Atlanta's bullpen. But the right-handed reliever is now looking for a job.The Braves agreed to terms on one-year deals with catcher Anthony Recker and left-handed
ATLANTA -- Chris Withrow entered this past season hoping to distance himself from Tommy John surgery while establishing himself as a reliable late-innings threat in Atlanta's bullpen. But the right-handed reliever is now looking for a job.
The Braves agreed to terms on one-year deals with catcher Anthony Recker and left-handed reliever Paco Rodríguez shortly before Friday's 8 p.m. ET deadline for all Major League clubs to either sign or tender a contract to each of their unsigned arbitration-eligible players.
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Withrow was the only member of this group to be non-tendered by the Braves, who offered contracts to center fielder Ender Inciarte, right-handed reliever Arodys Vizcaíno and left-handed reliever Ian Krol.
While Withrow now becomes a free agent who has the option to re-sign with the Braves, Inciarte, Vizcaino and Krol are now in position to have their respective 2017 salaries determined by an agreement or an arbitration hearing that would likely take place during Spring Training.
Recker, who is expected to begin the season as Atlanta's backup catcher, avoided arbitration when he agreed to an $800,000 deal late Friday afternoon.
Earlier this week, the Braves provided a one-year, $625,000 split contract to catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, who will receive the pro-rated portion of that salary when he is on Atlanta's active roster and a $100,000 salary when he is with Triple-A Gwinnett.
Rodriguez stood as a legitimate non-tender candidate until he agreed to a one-year, $637,500 deal approximately three minutes before Friday's deadline. MLB Trade Rumors had projected Rodriguez to receive $900,000 via arbitration, but he didn't necessarily have much leverage as he attempts to return from Tommy John surgery and pitch at the Major League level for the first time since May 29, 2015.
The financial risk the Braves took on Rodriguez was not as great as the commitment they would have made by retaining Withrow, who was projected to receive $1.2 million via arbitration.
Withrow posted a 3.56 ERA in 48 appearances for Atlanta this past season. The 27-year-old reliever allowed just one earned run during a 19 1/3-inning stretch that spanned from June 14 to July 27. But he missed most of August with right elbow inflammation, then made just six September appearances, none of which occurred after Sept. 17.
That was not necessarily an encouraging development for Withrow, who underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2014 and then missed all of 2015 while also recovering from back surgery.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.