ATLANTA -- Dansby Swanson and Max Fried are among the Braves who remain positioned to gain a raise through arbitration. As for Johan Camargo, Jasseel De La Cruz and Richard Rodríguez, they will now enter the free-agent market in search of a new employer.
The Braves reduced their list of arbitration-eligible players by signing a couple players on Tuesday. Outfielder Guillermo Heredia received a one-year, $1 million deal and infielder Orlando Arcia received a two-year, $3 million deal that includes a $2 million option for 2024.
In addition to Swanson and Fried, right-handers Luke Jackson and Mike Soroka, left-handers Tyler Matzek, A.J. Minter and Sean Newcomb, outfielder Adam Duvall and third baseman Austin Riley were tendered contracts by the Braves.
Because they were tendered contracts, each of these players could still reach a deal before arbitration figures are exchanged later this month. Once figures have been exchanged, each player will most likely have his 2022 salary assigned during an arbitration hearing, which often occurs either just before the start of Spring Training or during the early days of camp.
Soroka’s future remains uncertain as the Braves can only hope he might return from a second torn right Achilles during the latter half of the 2022 season. But the club was still willing to gamble on the 24-year-old hurler, who could receive something similar to the $2.8 million salary he earned this year via arbitration.
As the Braves evaluate whether they will have the funds necessary to re-sign Freddie Freeman, they must account for the fact that many of their arbitration-eligible players played a key role in winning the World Series. Fried made $3.5 million while posting MLB’s best second-half ERA and earning both a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award.
Swanson enters his final year of arbitration having played great defense while hitting a career-high 27 homers this year. Riley also picked a great time to produce his first 30-homer, 100-RBI season. The 24-year-old third baseman qualified as a Super Two player. This means this is the first of what could potentially be four arbitration-eligible seasons for him.
The Braves non-tendered Duvall last year and then reacquired him before this year’s Trade Deadline. The outfielder declined his mutual $7 million option for 2022 and now will wait to learn what his 38-homer season earned him via a new deal or the arbitration process.
Matzek, Minter and Jackson served as a significant portion of the Night Shift, the bullpen group that played a big role in the Braves’ October success.
Newcomb and Camargo both contributed to the first of the four straight National League East titles the Braves won in 2018. But both have faded from the club’s plans over the past couple seasons.
Camargo combined to produce an anemic .622 OPS over the past three seasons and his defensive value has plummeted since he served as the club’s starting third baseman in 2018. Newcomb posted a 4.73 ERA in 32 appearances this year and wasn’t included on any of the team’s postseason rosters.
Rodríguez initially helped stabilize the Braves’ bullpen after he was acquired from the Pirates on July 30. But his struggles throughout September led the club to also leave him off all of their playoff rosters
De La Cruz ranked as the Braves’ No. 22 prospect per MLB Pipeline. His star faded as he posted a 7.03 ERA in 20 appearances (15 starts) for Triple-A Gwinnett this year.