Benchmarks to watch for as the Atlanta Braves offseason kicks into gear

The end of the World Series kickstarted the exciting part of the Atlanta Braves' offseason. Who stays, who goes, and how many new faces will wear the tomahawk next year?

Atlanta Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos will be a very busy man over the next month.
Atlanta Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos will be a very busy man over the next month. / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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Atlanta Braves, Rule 5 Draft
The Atlanta Braves have a combined 17 AA and AAA players eligible for the Rule 5 Draft in December. / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Be Careful What You Ask For

Dexter Fowler turned down a $15,6M qualifying offer after 2015 and ended up returning to the Cubs for $6M and agreeing with, then backing out of a deal with the Orioles. He ended the year with a World Series ring but $9.6M less income.

Arizona left fielder Lourdes Gurriel had a clause in his contract with the Blue Jays preventing them from making a QO when the deal ended. Unlike Teoscar Hernández, Arizona’s left fielder hits the free agent market unencumbered by a QO.

MLBTR points out that, while the Braves are looking for a left fielder, they won’t want to sign a player with a QO to get one.

"…For signing a QO-rejecting free agent, these clubs would have to give up $1MM in international bonus pool money, as well as two draft picks — their second- and fifth-highest selections in the 2024 draft."

If You Want Him Say So

When MLB offices close on November 14, teams must all Rule 5 eligibles they want to protect to the 40-man roster or risk losing the player.

The Atlanta Braves have 16 players eligible for selection.

  • AAA Pitchers Luis De Avila and Nolan Kingham
  •  AA Pitchers Daniel Martinez, Domingo Gonzalez, Trey Riley, Peyton Williams, Hayden Deal, and Tyler Owens
  • AAA Outfielder Justin Dean
  • AA outfielders Drew Campbell, Jesse Franklin, Cody Milligan, Brandon Parker, and Landon Stephens
  • AA Infielders Cade Bunnell, and Beau Phillip, and
  • AA catcher Javier Valdez

Since a claimed player must be added to the claiming team’s 40-man roster and kept there all year, the only one who may wear a new uniform next year is Riley.

The Atlanta Braves have 11 players in A-ball eligible as well, but those are more likely to go in the Minor League phase of the draft.

Love Me With A Tender

This year’s non-tender deadline is November 17. By close of business that day, we’ll know which arbitration-eligible players are looking for a new home. Players and teams don’t have to agree at this point. Absent a non-tender, teams want to keep the player and plan to offer a contract and, if necessary, go to arbitration. 

 If teams and players don't agree by January 12, the player files for arbitration, with hearings starting in February. The parties may continue to negotiate, but the Atlanta Braves are a file and trial team; holding out means going to a hearing and listening to everything you weren’t very good at last year.

Remember that the numbers announced in January rarely reflect the offers made and rejected during negotiations. Players tend to move closer to the team’s price to make it seem like the difference is so small the team should have agreed. Teams do the same thing, saying look, the difference is so small, the payer should have signed.