Atlanta Braves 2021 Payroll

It’s never too early to look toward next year, especially when the 2020 MLB season is in jeopardy of not even being a thing (my opinion, now, is that we see baseball at some point this year). The Braves signed a lot of free agents this offseason, some to multi-year deals, some to 1-year “prove-it” deals. For this exercise, we will look at committed money for 2021, arb-eligible players, as well as pre-arbitration guys to get a feel of what the Atlanta Braves 2021 payroll currently looks like, and use the 2020 season payroll as a baseline for 2021. That baseline is roughly 150 million.

Leaving via Free Agency

Atlanta Braves 2021 Payroll: Committed Salaries

*Total: 71.2 MM (assuming Braves pick up O’Day’s option)

Atlanta Braves 2021 Payroll: Arbitration Eligible





What does arbitration look like if a season that doesn’t happen? The best answer I can get is that 2 things would likely happen:

  1. All arbitration eligible players will receive a full year of MLB service time.
  2. Arbitration would have to roll back clock and project from 2019 results.

Assuming thats the case, here’s my best guess on 2021 arb-salaries without a 2020 season:

  • Touki Toussaint- 850K
  • Mike Soroka- 4.2 MM
  • A.J. Minter- 850K
  • Max Fried- 3.8 MM
  • Sean Newcomb- 2.2 MM
  • Johan Camargo- 2.2 MM
  • Dansby Swanson- 4.4 MM
  • Adam Duvall- 4.5 MM
  • Luke Jackson- 2.8 MM
  • Mike Foltynewicz- 7.8 MM

Subtotal: 33.6 MM

Accumulated Total for 18 players: 104.8 MM

2021 Atlanta Braves Pre-Arbitration Players

Without knowing what the Minor Leagues will look like at this point for the 2020 season, I think we can make a few assumptions about the 2021 team.

  1. Shea Langeliers likely takes Tyler Flowers spot.
  2. Cristian Pache likely takes one OF spot.
  3. Both Tucker Davidson and Ian Anderson land roster spots.
  4. 1-2 other pre-arb players will make the team.

Subtotal: 6 players at pre-arb rate of ~550K: 3.3 MM

Accumulated Total for 24 players: 108.1 MM

Money to Spend: ~42 MM

2021 Projected Atlanta Braves Depth Chart

Starting Pitcher: Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Kyle Wright, Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Ian Anderson

Bullpen: Will Smith, Luke Jackson, Darren O’Day, Tucker Davidson, A.J. Minter, Touki Toussaint, Patrick Weigel,

Infield: Travis d’Arnaud, Shea Langeliers, Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley, Johan Camargo

Outfield: Cristian Pache, Ronald Acuña Jr, Ender Inciarte, Adam Duvall

*24 of 26 positions filled

Thoughts on 2021

While I’m not going to get into specifics of deals or trades that could happen, here are my thoughts on moves that make sense for the 2021 team:

  • Ender Inciarte will get traded. I’ve discussed the redundancy of Ender numerous times and with Pache likely ready to begin the 2021 season, it might finally happen.
  • Mike Foltynewicz will get traded. 7-8 million is a lot to give a guy that’s a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde pitcher, and if 2020 gets cancelled, I’d be willing to bet the Braves add a veteran starting pitcher to the young foursome above.
  • Adam Duvall will get traded and/or DFA’d. Like Folty, Duvall’s salary doesn’t seem justifiable as he’s just not a sure thing.
  • Freddie Freeman gets extended through 2025. I think it’s safe to say that both the organization and Freddie wants this to happen and 1 year before the deal is up makes sense.
  • Braves go big with a trade. The ‘20-’21 team isn’t loaded with high-end talent outside of a few names (J.T. Realmuto, Mookie Betts, Marcus Semien), and the Braves will be busting at the seams with 40-man talent.
  • Nick Markakis will be on the team. Get used to it.

Final Thoughts

With not many holes to fill, an abundant amount of resources, trades that could open up big-time dollars for a high-salary trade and/or free agent signing (I’ll dream on Mookie Betts until he goes elsewhere), the window wide open.

Thanks for reading an early look at the Braves 2021 Payroll. We’ve been hitting Braves History hard lately, so check out some of our best/worst trades in Braves History here.

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

19 thoughts on “Atlanta Braves 2021 Payroll”

  1. JC’D

    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.)says:

    May 12, 2020 at 8:09

    Yeah, I don’t agree with the players that it’s a “salary cap,” but I maybe the logic goes something like this – Major League Baseball has never had a principle like the NBA mandating that a certain percentage of league revenues go to player salaries. Explicitly tying revenues to salaries applies both upward and downward pressures to salaries, both a cap and a floor. As always, I’d love JonathanF to weigh in.

    The bigger issue for me is that the league is clearly trying to take advantage of COVID-19 to grab all they can, whether it’s the universal DH or it’s forcing players to accept lower salaries. I have no doubt that owners have lost a lot of money to the cancellation of a lot of games they were expecting to have played by now. But it’s hard, from the players’ perspective, to assume good faith from the plutocrats.

  2. Ryan, I agree with your 2021 projected Braves roster with one exception. I just can’t see it as “likely” that Langeliers takes Flowers spot. He has less than half a minor league season in the organization and didn’t exactly play like he was knocking on the door of the bigs, appearing in 54 games with a 653 ops at Low A. In all likelihood there won’t be much of a minor league season this year for the Braves to get a really good evaluation of what they have with him. I just don’t see it as likely they’re going to hand him a major league roster spot next year. I think the team will resign Flowers, or some other proven backup. Especially in light of the fact D’Arnaud himself does not have exactly the most reliable
    track record for the team to be confident about what they will get from him. Sigh…..Markakis. As much as I hate the idea you might be right.

  3. @Bravemarine

    I’ve got an inside ear to the ground in regards to Langeliers and the Braves brass are more excited about him than any other prospect in the system, even over Ian and Pache. If 2020 happens, we might see him this year.

  4. Something I have wondered is if anybody knows (or has estimated with some potential for accuracy) the relatively liquid net worth of MLB as an organization?

    Sean Doolittle put a lot of things up on the health aspects of reopening. Also, Calcaterra quotes a health expert who questions the ethics of making tests available for players and clubhouse staff on a nearly daily basis.

    Among industry groups, major league sports are very non essential. The food and beverage, cleaning, and maintenance people have portable job skills. The physical therapists and trainers and assistants to them, not so much. But I am convinced that failure to reopen most of the economy is certain destruction in less than a year. We may never have a vaccine for this. If so, do we shelter everybody in place for a year? Two years? 5 years?

    We live in a time of uncertainty which makes anxiety almost intense universally.

  5. Ryan, that’s very interesting! I cede to your insider knowledge and tip my cap to you!!

  6. At the risk of being attacked with pitchforks, I hope the players vote no on returning.

    Cases in AZ here are skyrocketing and they are still dumping bodies into mass graves in NYC where there are two MLB franchises.

    How can you even consider playing a child’s game knowing that these two things are true?

    I love baseball almost more than life itself, but like several other former athletes have said, just scrap it and be ready for next year (Spring Training).

  7. @ 6, Chief,

    But that is from whence my dilemma comes.

    I believe to a 50% probability that the only actual way to slow this down is for all of the healthy people to go ahead and get it. For 18 years, various governments have worked on vaccines for SARS and a little less time on MERS. After these 2 appeared to retreat into the mists, it is quite likely that the intensity of the searches dropped. So, if the theory is “wait for a virus” you experience Lord Keynes’ witty comeback in a most unfortunate way (“in the long run, we are all dead.)

    There is a chance that a significant enough treatment of some sort will greatly lessen the worst symptoms. But even on that, we don’t know.

    I have picked up on some church related sites that congregational signing is a type of “talking” that exceeds the 6 foot social separation. If so, then how much more impactful would this be with “yelling from the dug out?”

  8. Springer is a more likely target than Betts as he is already in his 30’s and won’t get more than 5 years. And again, that is dreaming some. Braves are pretty right handed with Pache, Acuna, riley, Swanson, catcher, and albies being a much better hitter right handed. If inciarte gets traded then Braves could use a left handed hitter with some pop. Brantley will be available but he doesn’t hit for much power and is better suited on an AL team. And I doubt Waters will be ready then without AAA this year. So who do the Braves target?

  9. @Wesley

    Nice to see you. Been a while! If the NL ends up adopting the DH this year, it seems a foregone conclusion that it’ll stick around for 2021. If Markakis stick around (which I believe he will), the Braves should pursue another LHH outfielder. My choices from the free agent pile:
    1. Joc Pederson- Great LHH hitter vs. RHP and can play all positions.
    2. Josh Reddick, Matt Joyce, Marwin Gonzalez, Brad Miller- all of these guys are valuable and, for the most part, interchangeable.

  10. Thanks for the confidence, AAR, but I’m not sure I have a lot to contribute. (I’m often not sure of that, but it doesn’t stop me.) In the current proposals, are players supposed to be paid per game? If so, an 80 game season is a 50% cut. Now I’m assuming ticket revenues will drop by roughly 100 percent, and television revenues will probably rise slightly per game for those who run their own networks, and depend on the individual broadcasting contracts for those that don’t. But broadly, I can understand that the players association certainly doesn’t want asymmetric revenue sharing, in which they take a big cut when revenues are way down and don’t get any of the upside when (and if) things recover. I’ve been fecklessly Googling. Can someone point me to how MLB is proposing to pay players?

  11. Ryan, do you think that Waters will:
    a) Flame out
    b) Not be ready until 2022
    c) Get traded
    My guess is c.

  12. @10

    I have not seen a detailed proposal as to how the owners propose to pay the players, just that they generally want to split revenue 50-50 with the players for just this season and have that be how the players get paid. I guess the assumption is that if they agreed, the players would figure out amongst themselves how to dole out their 50 percent? I dunno, you’re correct that there hasn’t really been a detailed outline as to how that would work…that I’ve seen, anyway.

  13. Thanks, Nick. The Passan piece was helpful. Here’s a prediction, assuming the health and safety concerns can be resolved. The players get a revenue share with a floor of, say, 45 percent of salaries and a ceiling of 55 percent and the right, in order to monitor the deal, of forcing the books open including all ancillary streams… which right is to be included in the next CBA. In return, MLB agrees to forego a salary cap request in the next CBA.

  14. There is a lot of garbage out there about COVID-19, but if you are interested in listening to intelligent discussion led by smart people who know things, I recommend this site: The host is a professor in microbiology and immunology at Columbia who has cowritten a textbook on virology, they have a regular cast of academics and researchers from universities around the country who participate, and guests who have something meaningful to contribute to the discussion. As an example, the guest on the latest podcast is the CEO of CEPI, an international consortium with a mission to stimulate development of vaccines against emerging viral threats. Can sometimes get a bit jargony, but they realize their audience is broader than it would usually be and generally keep it understandable to the layperson like me. There’s no real connection to sports, but I’ve found it interesting anyway.

  15. @3

    Mademoiselles for Langeliers
    Parlez vous?
    Mademoiselles for Langeliers
    Parlez vous?
    Mademoiselles for Langeliers
    It may be months, it won’t be years
    Inky Pinkie parlez vous?

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