All of the Braves Arbitration players have now signed. Here are their deals.
Matt Diaz signed a 1 year/$1.2375MM deal and up to 500K more if he reaches 600 at bats. This is fair. He has a .309 career average and can get a lot of at bats if he stays healthy. Last year he was out the whole year, but he batted .327 in 297 at-bats in 2006 and .338 over 358 at bats in 2007. Pretty good huh? I predict he will have an excellent year in 2009 and could possibly be looking at a starting role, or at least a platoon in the outfield.
Mike Gonzalez signed a 1 year/$3.45MM deal. Decent. He will most likely be our closer next year if he stays healthy. He is a free agent next year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we got him back next year. He’s no K-Rod, but as long as he is under 7 million a year, I’m fine with him. He can get good numbers and doesn’t blow a save too often.
Casey Kotchman signed a 1 year/$2.885MM with bonuses. He can make $25,000 by reaching each plate appearance total of 575, 600, 625 and
650, $50,000 for winning the MVP, being
an All-Star, earning the Gold Glove or bring the World Series MVP, and $25,000 for winning the Silver Slugger or the LCS MVP. A good amount of bonuses, but decent deal overall. He had family issues last year so he didn’t play like he regularly does, but he can hit for a good average and has some good power. Oh and he’s very young. He is holding first base until Freddie Freeman makes it to the Bigs. I really can’t wait to see how he does next year and where he will bat in the line-up.
Kelly Johnson signed a 1 year/$2.825MM deal. He deserved that after a pretty good season last year. He was one of the hottest players in the last month and can really help contribute next season. He may not see as much playing time as he did last year because Martin Prado is completely healthy, but he will still see a good amount of time.
Jeff Francoeur signed a 1 year/ $3.375 million deal with up to 25K in incentives. I am one of the few people who think Frenchy will bounce back. He had one bad year, but most players do. I think he will get back to form (or at least close to it) and earn every penny of the 3.4 million.
As the World Series is going on, the Braves need to start thinking who to trade when December comes. I personally want to see Reyes, Miller, James, and some of our bullpen out of Atlanta. Of course these players do not have very much if not no trade value, but it is possible to throw them in a trade somewhere to continue to build our farm system. Players with trade value that have been thrown in some trade rumors are Lillibridge, Morton, Reyes (since he is young and could be a possible 4th or 5th starter), Brandon Jones, possibly Escobar, Johnson OR Prado (one will probably get traded, Kotchman (which is not likely but could possibly happen if a good deal comes around), Flowers (due to McCann at Catcher and Freeman at 1st base), Blanco, possibly Diaz, and MAYBE Soriano. It is not positive that Wren will even trade this season because of this year’s free agency market this year. Dunn, Peavy, Burnett, Burrell, Nady, maybe CC or Sheets, Lowe, Garland, and MAYBE JUST MAYBE Teixeira are all players that we are watching this off-season. Wren has already announced we are not giving up our top prospects, so the Peavy deal is not a “done deal” just yet.