The Braves were busy to begin the week, as the club had several key decisions regarding team options. The organization could go several directions this offseason with regards to spending, and made efforts to maximize their financial flexibility on Monday.
First reports surfaced that the Braves had retained catcher Tyler Flowers by declining his $6 million option, paying his $2 million buyout, then re-signing him to a one-year, $4 million deal. In going through these machinations, Atlanta will still pay Flowers $6 million, but only $4 million will count toward the 2020 payroll. The Braves gave the exact same deal, using the exact same accounting procedures, to outfielder Nick Markakis.
Atlanta declined options on pitcher Julio Teheran for $12 million and outfielder Billy Hamilton for $7.5 million. The club’s decision on Teheran was predictable, though there was always the possibility that the front office felt compelled to retain the right-hander for the sake of durability. The decision not to pick up the option on Hamilton was seemingly always a foregone conclusion from the time of his acquisition.
In addition to options, the Braves also had to determine whether or not they would make a qualifying offer to free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson. They did so, with the figure standing at $17.8 million. Donaldson is widely expected to decline the qualifying offer in favor of a multi-year deal, which he will almost certainly receive following a great season in Atlanta.
The Braves will have two finalists for BBWAA awards, as Mike Soroka and Brian Snitker will be up for Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year, respectively.
Murphy was never voted in by the writers, but hopefully he will receive the call at some point as he will be added to the 2020 Modern Baseball Era Hall of Fame Ballot.
This feels like it would be a letdown for everyone invested in the Braves’ well-being, but to be fair MLB Trade Rumors only hit on about 15% of their predictions last offseason (credit to Scott Coleman for sharing on Twitter).
#Braves pitchers and catchers will report on Wednesday, Feb. 12. First workout on 13th. Position players report on Monday, Feb. 17. First game is 22nd against Orioles.— Gabe Burns (@GabeBurnsAJC) November 4, 2019
What effect will this have on the Mookie Betts situation?
Despite his inability to stay healthy, Gregorius should have a pretty wide range of suitors, especially without a qualifying offer attached.
The first trade of the offseason.