The Braves and AA went into the offseason with 4 unknown salaries as A.J. Minter, Mike Soroka, Tyler Matzek, and Max Fried were all arb-eligible. Over the next few months, the Braves swung trades for Sean Murphy, Dennis Santana, Lucas Luetge, and Joe Jimenez, giving them 8 players expected to be on the big league team to hit arbitration.
ME FIRST! NO ME!
The first 2 of the 8 to get a new deal was Tyler Matzek and Mike Soroka. On November 18th, AA signed Matzek to a 2/$3.1MM deal with a 5.5MM club option, and signed Soroka to a 1/$2.8MM deal. Matzek had TJ surgery on October 12 and will be sidelined the entire 2023 season. Soroka is expected to compete for the 5th starter spot, but does have an option should the powers that be deem him not ready. This is the last year of options for Soroka.
That’s Murphy’s Money
The next of the group to get the guaranteed bucks was Sean Murphy, who signed a 6 year extension that will pay him $73MM with a $15MM club option. I’m excited to see him control the running game in a league that will be adapting to some interesting new rules.
Today is always an exciting day for payroll people like me as the unknown for so many players becomes concrete. The Braves did well by getting 4 of the remaining 5 to avoid arbitration:
- Dennis Santana: $1MM
- A.J. Minter: $4.2875MM
- Lucas Luetge: $1.55MM
- Joe Jimenez: $2.765MM
The Fried Elephant in the Room
That leaves who most consider the ace of the Braves staff who, once again, is headed to arbitration. Fried is expected to make nearly $13MM through arbitration and is arb-eligible for the 4th and final time in 2024. It’s my expectation that Max Fried, the Braves MLBPA rep, will go through the arbitration process and test free agency after the 2024 season, but I’ll fully admit that I’m hoping for a pleasant surprise as Fried is a pitcher worth keeping around for a long time.