The Braves and Austin Riley were unable to avoid arbitration over $205,000, proving Atlanta learned nothing from the loss of Freddie Freeman.
Atlanta’s offseason team may be among the best in baseball, but that’s not the point here.
Atlanta should be proud of yourself about the ability to keep homegrown stars. Despite losing Freeman, they once signed him to an eight-year extension under the arbitration process, and hoped to avoid that altogether. However, with a pair of young All-Stars being formed in Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson, Alex Anthopoulos has opted for a legal battle to give both players what they want in the short term.
This is despite the record revenue Liberty Media brought in last year, and what is certain to be another profitable fall in Atlanta as the Braves chase a repeat World series.
Braves Can’t Avoid Referee With Austin Riley
The difference between Riley and Atlanta is $205,000.
Swanson, meanwhile, missed out on a new $800,000 contract. In MLB contract terms, that’s not much.
At the time Freeman signed eight-year contract in 2014, Anthopoulos is not the general manager. Instead, it was Frank Wren who negotiated an eight-year extension with the team’s first star.
“Freddie has established himself as one of the best young talents in the game,” Braves general manager at the time Frank Wren said in a statement. “We are delighted to have signed one of our own homegrown players to keep him in the Braves uniform for the next eight seasons.”
Anthopoulos is a superior general manager at this stage – most can agree on that. But maybe he can remember one of his predecessors. It’s best to deal with these issues indoors when possible and build close friendships on a financial level.
Ultimately, the Braves will want to sign Riley and Swanson to long-term contracts. The financial pressure will only increase until then, especially because no player will ever forget how cheap the Braves were during the arbitration, when less than $1 million (and in Riley’s case) is less than $300,000) that separates the two from unity.
The Braves could completely avoid that situation. Just as they were able to avoid the Freeman free agent saga by negotiating entertainment last season, rather than letting their franchise players do it in the final year of his long-term contract. .
For the sake of the Braves, we can only hope history doesn’t repeat itself.
https://fansided.com/2022/03/24/braves-austin-riley-arbitration/ Alex Anthopoulos chooses war after losing Freddie Freeman