In the weeks leading up to the deadline for tendering contracts to arbitration-eligible players in Major League Baseball, there had been widespread speculation concerning the status of Braves infielders Paul Janish and Elliot Johnson, as well as injured long reliever Cristhian Martinez. On Monday, the organization provided some clarity.
#Braves declined to tender a 2014 contract offer to infielders Paul Janish and Elliot Johnson and RHP Cristhian Martinez
It certainly isn’t a shock that the Braves non-tendered any of the three players in question, but it’s a mild surprise (at least to me) that they didn’t issue a contract to either Janish or Johnson. Both guys are fairly expendable, but each provides different positional flexibility and defensive acumen that could be useful moving forward. Janish’s bat simply doesn’t profile as a MLB regular (career .572 OPS), while Johnson’s defense isn’t quite as exceptional with a slightly better bat. They’ll both likely gain jobs somewhere in baseball, but it is unlikely that either will get a major role.
In the case of Martinez, it was mostly expected to see reliever non-tendered, simply because his health hasn’t allowed him to provide much value recently. He was only able to throw 2.1 innings due to injury last season, and with a rising cost for him in arbitration, it wasn’t a safe enough investment for Atlanta.
At the same time, the Braves solved a bit of the conundrum concerning Janish and Johnson by releasing the details of a player that they did sign to a deal.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) December 2, 2013
Ramiro Pena will be a member of the Braves in 2014, and there is a legitimate possibility that he could be a featured member. Dan Uggla is famously on the trade market (or the market to be benched), and with Pena in the fold (and presumably healthy after a full off-season to recover from injury), he could see extended playing time. In 2013, he smacked the cover off of the ball to the tune of .278/.330/.443 in 107 plate appearances, and while that was unquestionably a case of hitting over his head (career .244/.281/.324 over 445 PA’s), he could be a valuable piece.
In the case of Venters, this deal was widely reported earlier in the off-season, and we provided our take here.
This is nothing “earth-shattering” in the way of news, but these moves will certainly mold some of the fringe parts of the 2014 roster.