Atlanta Braves nontender one player: Adam Duvall becomes Free Agent

Atlanta Braves pinch hitter Adam Duvall reacts after hitting a game tying home run against the Miami Marlins. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Braves pinch hitter Adam Duvall reacts after hitting a game tying home run against the Miami Marlins. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

At the nontender deadline, the Atlanta Braves nontendered only one of their arbitration-eligible players, but not the one everyone expected.

Going into today, most expected the Atlanta Braves to nontender a maximum of two players, with Johan Camargo and Luke Jackson leading the list. When the smoke cleared this afternoon, both of the expected players had new contracts, and Adam Duvall was a free agent.

The first news received on deadline day was a new contract for Camargo, who agreed to a maximum 20% pay cut when signing for $1.36M. Shortly after that, we heard the Grant Dayton was also back in the fold for $900K.

Bringing Camargo and Dayton back makes sense. Camargo is versatile; if he finds his bat in winter ball, he might make a difference on offense as well. Dayton costs virtually nothing, and acknowledging that the small sample size matters, he had a pretty nice 2020 season.

Four hours later, we heard that the Braves had a rush of blood to the head and brought Jackson back for $1.9M, making Camargo the only player so far to take a pay cut. The return of Jackson is a head-scratcher.

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Acknowledging the sample size again, Jackson had a season diametrically opposite to that of Dayton. He appeared in 19 games and gave up a hit in 16 of them. One of his appearances without allowing a hit lasted 1/3 of an inning and one batter.

Jackson struck out 20 batters in his 26 1/3 IP, but he walked 13 as well and finished with a WHIP of 1.975. He has a superb 61.9% groundball rate and batters barrel him up only 3.1% of the time, but they also average an exit velocity of 90 mph, which is why many of those ground balls go for hits.

Adam Duvall Non-tendered

Two minutes after the Jackson news, we heard that the club had non-tendered Duvall.

I wasn’t shocked by the news, but it was a bit surprising. Duval was second on the team in homers with 16 and put on a show in Boston early in the season, but he’s a platoon player who hits in the .220s against RHP.

It’s true that 13 of his 16 homers came against righties, but he only came to the plate against lefties in 50 of his 209 PA. Duvall’s projected $5-7 million contract is a lot for a 32-year-old, part-time player.

The Atlanta Braves may try to bring him back at a lower cost, but he can test free agency and find a better offer elsewhere.

That’s a wrap

The Atlanta Braves tendered contracts to their other arb eligible players, but no details are available for those deals yet. The club has until January 15 to agree to a contract with those players or go to arbitration. None of the other non-tendered players around the league were unexpected.

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The Braves now set on filling in the vacancies in left-field, backup catcher, and the three and four spots in the lineup, perhaps through trade. When it happens, we’ll let you know here at the Take.