Ronald Acuna Jr. Rookie Card and Prospect Card Highlights

With the additions of Josh Tomlin, Drew Smyly, and Charlie Morton and the upcoming subtractions of some non-tender candidates, the Braves 2021 Roster is taking shape. Today’s “Braves Roster and Payroll Update” piece will look at where the current roster stands, the guaranteed contracts, the shoo-ins for the roster, and then look at the holes to fill before the 2021 season.

Braves Payroll: Guaranteed Contracts

  1. Freddie Freeman: $22.5 MM
  2. Charlie Morton: $15MM
  3. Will Smith: $13MM
  4. Drew Smyly: $11MM
  5. Ender Inciarte: $8.7MM
  6. Travis D’Arnaud: $8MM
  7. Chris Martin: $7MM
  8. Ronald Acuna Jr. $5MM
  9. Ozzie Albies: $3MM
  10. Josh Tomlin: $1MM

Total: $94.5MM for 10 Players


1 of these 9 are not like the other as Ender Inciarte likely has no spot on this team especially considering the emergence of Cristian Pache. The one thing I could see is that Anthopoulos plays the service time manipulation game with Pache and squeezes a few weeks out of Ender at the beginning of the year to gain an extra year of control of Pache. Either way, I think the Braves are likely stuck paying Ender’s salary, but I’m holding out some holiday hope that there’s a trade out there.

Braves Payroll: Arb-Eligible Players (Estimates)

  1. Dansby Swanson: $6MM
  2. Adam Duvall: $5MM
  3. Max Fried: $3.75MM
  4. Mike Soroka: $1.9MM
  5. Luke Jackson: $1.875MM
  6. Johan Camargo: $1.7MM
  7. A.J. Minter:$1.5MM
  8. Grant Dayton: $1MM
  9. Abraham Almonte: $990K

Subtotal: $23.715MM for 9 players

Total:$119.215MM for 19 players


Luke Jackson, Johan Camargo, and Grant Dayton are all *non-tender/trade candidates (*non-tender deadline is Wednesday so trade candidates only for a short time) and Abraham Almonte is on a non-guaranteed deal, which is likely a split contract that pays him $990K in MLB and much, much less in the minors. There’s a case to keep all 4 of these players and there’s a case to let them all walk. Personally, I think that the arb-guys are gone come Wednesday as free agency this year is going to be brutal for fringe major leaguers and more capable players will replace the 24th-26th man guessing game. If that’s true, add about $4.5MM back to the payroll.

Braves Payroll: Pre-Arb Players

  1. Tyler Matzek
  2. Jacob Webb
  3. Austin Riley
  4. Sean Newcomb
  5. Touki Toussaint
  6. Kyle Wright
  7. Jeremy Walker
  8. Chad Sobotka
  9. Jack Mayfield
  10. Phil Pfeifer
  11. Bryse Wilson
  12. Ian Anderson
  13. William Contreras
  14. Tucker Davidson
  15. Jasseel De La Cruz
  16. Alex Jackson
  17. Kyle Muller
  18. Cristian Pache
  19. Patrick Weigel
  20. Huascar Ynoa

Subtotal: ~$4 to 4.5MM for 7-8 players

Total: ~$122.715 MM for 26 players.


I think it’s safe to say that the Braves will likely carry 7-8 guys regularly from this list, between all year regulars like Cristan Pache, Ian Anderson, Tyler Matzek, and Austin Riley and the pitching shuffle between Atlanta and Gwinnett.

Roster Holes to Fill, Guesswork, and Final Breakdown

*Health assumed, the following players are Roster Locks

Roster Locks

Position Players (8): Travis d’Arnaud, Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley, Adam Duvall, Cristian Pache, Ronald Acuña Jr.

Starting Pitchers (5): Mike Soroka (if healthy), Max Fried, Charlie Morton, Drew Smyly, Ian Anderson

Relief Pitchers (5): Will Smith, Chris Martin, A.J. Minter, Tyler Matzek, Josh Tomlin

Assuming the above, there are 8 roster spots undetermined. It’s likely 2 or 3 of those roster spots will be taken by pitchers currently on the 40-man roster. I see the needs as follows:

  1. Catcher
  2. OF bat
  3. Bench bat/backup infielder
  4. Relief Pitcher

There’s also the thought that the Braves already have their backup catcher in one of William Contreras or Alex Jackson. My guess is that Anthopoulos is going into the rest of the offseason like he has thus far and that is when a good player comes available and wants to play for this team, he’ll pounce and figure out the fit later. Payroll? I say it’s anyone’s guess, but I cannot imagine that Anthopoulos would add 2 starting pitchers then not have the $ to address the biggest need…a replacement for Marcell Ozuna (or Ozuna himself). For now, I’m operating under the assumption that the payroll will mirror last year’s figure, somewhere between $150-160 million. That’s exciting.

Go get it, AA.

Thanks for reading Braves Roster and Payroll Update. If you enjoyed this piece, check out our latest Player Review on MVP Freddie Freeman