Braves avoid arbitration with Folty, 6 others

January 11th, 2019

ATLANTA -- Mike Foltynewicz won't endure another arbitration hearing and will have the chance to prove he's healthy enough to earn the raise he has been offered as he comes off an injury-plagued season.

The Braves avoided arbitration by agreeing to one-year deals with each of their previously unsigned arbitration-eligible players -- Foltynewicz ($5.475 million), Vizcaino ($4.8 million), ($9.35 million), ($2.875 million), Charlie Culberson ($1.395 million), Sam Freeman ($1.575 million) and Dan Winkler ($1.61 million) -- before Friday afternoon's deadline.

Foltynewicz experienced the strict aspect of the "file and trial" approach last year, when he lost a hearing that was held despite his request ($2.3 million) being just $100,000 more than what was offered by the Braves. This year's negotiating experience proved much more pleasant for the All-Star hurler, who has more than doubled his $2.2 million salary for the upcoming season.

This healthy raise was expected for Foltynewicz, who posted a 2.85 ERA over 31 starts and finished eighth in balloting for the National League Cy Young Award. He will anchor a rotation that was bolstered by the Trade Deadline acquisition of Gausman, who received a $3.75 million raise after posting a 3.92 ERA over 31 combined starts with the Orioles and Braves.

Vizcaino's 2019 salary is up from the $3.4 million figure he was given in '18. He'll come to Spring Training with a chance to compete with for the closer's role. But if Vizcaino's right shoulder continues to be a problem, the Braves would have the option to release him before Opening Day and bear the burden of just a portion of this salary.

All contracts given to arbitration-eligible players are non-guaranteed, meaning a club would be responsible for just a prorated portion (30 days or 45 days) of the salary if the player is released before Opening Day. This rule will be important to remember in relation to Vizcaino, who missed most of last season's second half, and Duvall, who struggled after being acquired from the Reds before last year's Trade Deadline.

Any player with a non-guaranteed contract released on or before the 16th day of Spring Training is awarded 30 days' termination pay. Players released after the 16th day of Spring Training would be awarded 45 days' termination pay. In relation to Vizcaino's salary, these figures would be $774,131 and $1.16 million.

Though Duvall struggled in 2018, hitting .195 with 15 homers and a .639 OPS, his consecutive 30-homer seasons in '16-17 earned him the $2.875 million salary he has been given for '19. The Braves tendered him a contract because their limited internal depth sets up the possibility he could open the upcoming season as one of their starting outfielders.

If the Braves acquire a starting outfielder and are hesitant about utilizing Duvall as a backup this season, they will also have the option to release him during Spring Training and be responsible to pay just a portion of this salary.

Coming off a magical season during which he doubled his career homer total by belting 12 long balls, Culberson can now enjoy the first seven-figure salary of his career. The suburban Atlanta native is once again projected to serve as one of the Braves' key bench players.

Freeman experienced a heavy early-season workload that began to take its toll in late April. But after spending three weeks on the disabled list, the veteran lefty returned in late August and did not allow a run over his final 10 2/3 innings of the season.

Winkler was one of the key cogs in Atlanta's bullpen, where he produced a 1.53 ERA through his first 31 appearances last year. But the right-hander, who has undergone two major elbow surgeries within the past five years, produced a 5.23 ERA over the 38 appearances that followed and was left off the postseason roster.