When is the MLB Arbitration deadline? Braves players who are eligible & more

The Braves have a key deadline coming up this week when it comes to their arbitration-eligible players.
Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game Two
Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game Two / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

After making a flurry of moves over the last couple of months, the Atlanta Braves' offseason does appear to be winding down. However, one key piece of business that the team needs to handle soon is arbitration and at least attempting to avoid hearings with their arbitration-eligible players.

Heading into the offseason, it appeared as though the Braves were going to have a gaggle of arbitration-eligible guys, but the team made sweeping cuts at the non-tender deadline and further culled their 40 man roster with trades especially the move that brought Aaron Bummer to Atlanta and sent Michael Soroka, Nicky Lopez, Jared Shuster, Braden Shewmake, and Riley Gowens to the White Sox.

Once the dust settled, the Braves had a modest group of arbitration guys left to deal with, although a couple of them are pretty key names. Here's a look at how MLB arbitration works and what fans can expect this week.

When is the MLB arbitration deadline?

The deadline for teams and players to file arbitration figures this year is Friday, January 12, 2024. The Braves have traditionally operated as a "file and trial" team, so their arbitration-eligible players will in all likelihood head to an arbitration hearing in the coming months to determine their contracts for next season if they are unable to settle on contract terms by Friday.

Typically, the Braves have been able to come to terms with their guys ahead of the deadline each year with some notable exceptions we will get to in a minute. This year has less uncertainty than usual given Atlanta's small arbitration class which speaks to one of the benefits of locking up so many of their young guys on contract extensions.

Which Braves players are eligible for arbitration?

For the 2024 season, the Braves only have Max Fried, AJ Minter, and Huascar Ynoa as guys that are arbitration eligible. The list was considerably longer when the 2023 season ended, but the Braves non-tendered seven players that would have been eligible earlier this offseason and the aforementioned trades took care of a big chunk as well.

The Braves already took care of Ynoa a few days ago when the team agreed to terms with him on an $850,000 contract for next season. That leaves Fried and Minter who are both going to be fascinating cases to follow ahead of Friday's deadline.

AJ Minter has been a key piece of the Braves' bullpen for years now and is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility before he hits free agency after next season. He has avoided arbitration hearings his previous three years and it seems probable that the two sides will work out a deal again this year. Fried, however, is a different animal altogether as he has gone to a hearing multiple times previously with a pretty even split of wins and losses so far. As a result, it is highly likely that the two sides won't settle before the deadline and will head to another hearing.

What are the projected salaries for the Braves' arbitration-eligible players?

Arbitration estimates are a bit of a crapshoot, but MLB Trade Rumors has a pretty good track record of getting reasonably close to what the final figures end up being league-wide. Here are the projected salaries they have for the Braves' arbitration eligible players:

Max Fried: $14.4 million
AJ Minter: $6.5 million
Huascar Ynoa: $1 million (signed for $850,000)

Minter's projection would represent a nice little raise for him over the almost $4.3 million he earned last year and it would not be shocking to see him settle with the team at a number slightly lower than what MLBTR is projecting here.

Fried's case is much less clear as some other places like Spotrac have him getting significantly more than what is projected here. Based solely on his performance with the Braves up to this point as well as how much starters are getting in free agency these days, there is a strong argument for Fried to at least approach $20 million this year. However, his injury history including the arm injury in 2023 that cost him a huge chunk of playing time clouds the picture a lot and explains why MLBTR is a bit more bearish in their projection.

It would not be all that surprising if the team and Fried file at dramatically different numbers once Friday's deadline and then make an arbitrator decide on the final number at a hearing. How that hearing goes could tell us a lot about the chances of Fried staying in Atlanta long-term especially if things end up being contentious.

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