September 6, 2009 at 7:10 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves, Front Office, Transactions
Turning the page on the 2009 season, the Braves have a strong class of impending Free Agents. If everything plays out perfectly, the Braves could net a very strong 2010 draft class. Let’s take a look at the class.
Rafael Soriano – RHP (relief) Type A
Soriano will likely command a longer term deal than the Braves will be willing to offer. I won’t rule out the possibility of the Braves re-signing him, but I don’t think it’s likely. There’s zero chance he slips down to the type B status. I believe there’s no chance the Braves don’t offer him arbitration and collect the two draft picks. If Soriano accepts, he’ll likely make ~$9 million. Although this may have to be coupled with a corresponding move (trading a SP, specifically), I don’t think the Braves would feel too bad about paying Rafael Soriano $9 million for 1 year.
Mike Gonzalez – LHP (relief) Type A
Gonzo is basically in the exact same boat as Soriano. Probably seeking more years and dollars the Braves are willing to spend and there’s no possibility he drops to type B. Again, I don’t think there’s any chance the Braves pass on offering Gonzalez arbitration. I believe the organization would most likely be more willing to sign Gonzalez than Soriano, and I think they’ll at least attempt to sign one of them, but if they don’t they’ll happily accept their draft picks. Again, an arbitration raise for Mike Gonzalez isn’t something the Braves can’t handle, so the no-risk high reward decision to offer Gonzalez arbitration will be an easy one.
Adam LaRoche – 1B/DH Type B
LaRoche, who the Braves acquired for Casey Kotchman at the non-waiver trade deadline, has boosted his Elias ranking up to type B on account of his stellar performance in a Braves uniform, hitting .345/.421/.586 with 8 HR. LaRoche highlights the group of free agent 1B on the market this off-season, so he’ll likely look to exploit that and land a big deal. The Braves most likely won’t be able to–or desire to–meet his demands. Again, I don’t think there’s a chance the Braves pass on offering him arbitration. And while they could also handle having LaRoche accept, there’s virtually zero chance he will. So the Braves will most likely get a draft pick out of this one. There’s a chance LaRoche will slip back into the “just missed Type B category”. In that case, no point in offering LaRoche arbitration.
Garret Anderson – OF/DH Type B
Garret has hit .285/.321/.431 this season and played lousy defense. He’s pretty much a DH at this point. This one’s more tricky than the others because I don’t imagine the Braves want Garret Anderson anywhere near their payroll. He’s been alright, but the Braves need to move onto better and younger things. Does Garret even play next season? Would he accept arbitration if offered? If the Braves are confident Garret won’t accept arbitration and wants to sign elsewhere, he’ll be offered arbitration. I just don’t know if the reward of a draft pick out-weighs the risk of Garret accepting and having a $5 million bench bat next season.
The Braves could gain 6 additional draft picks next year. It will be interesting to see how the entire off-season plays out, but I’m especially looking forward to seeing how the impending free agent class is handled. Specifically with respect to arbitration. One final thing of note. There’s an outside shot that Tim Hudson sneaks in as a Type B. I have a feeling that the Braves will exercise his option, though.