Kimbrel still bargain after bigger-than-usual raise

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla – When it comes to paying players who aren’t yet eligible for arbitration, the Braves and many other teams  follow a strict salary scale with few exceptions.

Craig Kimbrel was an exception.

Winning the National League Rookie of the Year and receiving votes for Cy Young and Rolaids Relief Man awards lifted Kimbrel’s salary to $590,000, up from $419,000 in 2011.

While still a relative bargain for a pitcher who led major league relievers with 127 strikeouts and tied for the NL lead with 46 saves, Kimbrel’s salary is the highest ever for a Brave with less than two years of service time.

The Braves agreed to terms Friday with all 24 of their ‘zero-to-three” players, the term for non-arbitration players with less than three years of service time in the majors.

To show what Kimbrel’s awards meant in terms of salary: Braves setup man Jonny Venters, another of the league’s top relief pitchers, got a $533,000 salary for 2012 despite having two full years of service time to less than 1-1/2 years for Kimbrel.

Venters made $429,500 in 2011 while posting a 1.84 ERA in a majors-leading 85 appearances.

Salary figures were not immediately available for others who came to terms Friday including outfielder Jason Heyward and first baseman Freddie Freeman, the NL rookie award runners-up the past two years, and starting pitchers Brandon Beachy and Tommy Hanson. The list included all non-arbitration players on the 40-man roster.

Hanson agreed to terms this year after having his contract unilaterally renewed by the Braves in each of the previous two seasons. (Teams can take that step when a player not eligible for arbitration doesn’t agree to terms.)

The major league minimum salary was raised to $480,000, up from $414,000 in 2011. Most on the Braves list with little or no major league service will be paid a prorated share of the major league minimum for any time with the big-league club in 2012, and a significantly smaller salary while in the minor leagues.

The Braves now have all players under contract and the payroll is at approximately $90 million, leaving them with about $4 million or $5 million in the player budget to fill potential needs.

19 comments Add your comment

kcellis

March 2nd, 2012
6:09 pm

Hey Dave, how many of the veterans on the club do you think will make the trip to Lakeland on Sunday? I plan on going to the game, but I know some guys like Chipper don’t always attend road games in spring. Thanks

B-F_52

March 2nd, 2012
6:22 pm

Good done and done play ball

Weaseal

March 2nd, 2012
6:38 pm

Lights Out !!

TS

March 2nd, 2012
6:39 pm

Kimbrel should quit and go work on Wall St. Venters, too.

Felix

March 2nd, 2012
6:39 pm

Only one word needed to describe the new one game playoff.

DUMB!

jodathrow

March 2nd, 2012
6:40 pm

DOB,

Regarding this:

“Hanson agreed to terms this year after having his contract unilaterally renewed by the Braves in each of the previous two seasons. (Teams can take that step when a player not eligible for arbitration doesn’t agree to terms).”

Does this imply that player are asking for one figure, while the team says, “no, we’re paying you this”? Is this something that potentially causes contention between players and the team, like arbitration hearings can?

South Bound And Down

March 2nd, 2012
7:09 pm

They deserved every penny of it! Time to take my sons to the
batting cages,man that 480,000 minimum sure gives me incentive!

David O'Brien

March 2nd, 2012
7:21 pm

DOB,

Regarding this:

“Hanson agreed to terms this year after having his contract unilaterally renewed by the Braves in each of the previous two seasons. (Teams can take that step when a player not eligible for arbitration doesn’t agree to terms).”

Does this imply that player are asking for one figure, while the team says, “no, we’re paying you this”? Is this something that potentially causes contention between players and the team, like arbitration hearings can?jodathrow

Player and/or his agent believes player is worth more than team is offering, and since player has no leverage, all he can do is decline to sign contract. It’s not a holdout or anything like that, as he knows team will unilaterally renew the contract without his signature anyway. It’s more a gesture, a stance taken by the player and his agent to say, we think you underpaid us this particular year.

The unilaterally-renewed contract usually includes a salary slightly smaller than what was offered, sort of the team’s way of slapping player on wrist for not agreeing.

tom

March 2nd, 2012
9:09 pm

DOB, the Gattis story is why I read you. It’s a shame money has to be a big part of what you are required to report about. Most of us can not relate!

wayn-o

March 3rd, 2012
1:00 am

Oh boo freakn’ hoo. You had to ’settle’ for league minimum. Most people who are your fans don’t even make the $66,000 raise that everyone got.

jonathan Simeone

March 3rd, 2012
1:09 am

Venters is a better pitcher than Kimbrel; he should have gotten at least as much money as Kimbrel did. Without his great work Kimbrel’s seson would not have been what it was.

Bob in SF

March 3rd, 2012
1:09 am

It’s great that the Braves are so loaded with young talent but it will really be really expensive in 3-4 years when these guys all become eligible for arbitration at the same time.

MikeY

March 3rd, 2012
7:32 am

I hope the Braves spend that $4M on a RH bat.

Merlin

March 3rd, 2012
9:13 am

They don’t have 5 million to spend. If Beachy Hanson, and Freeman got raises reflecting their season like Kimbrel, Moylan makes the 40 man and If Heyward got at least a pat on the back raise withe rest nameless rest at league minimum they’re committed to about $91.8M. That leaves about 2.2 until the cupboard is bare based on COTS and released numbers so far this year.
I suspect they will sit on that and try to trade for a bat of some kind. though the new playoff system makes trades early on harder to do.

Preston Thompson

March 3rd, 2012
10:51 am

This is a fact. Kimbrel and Venters were and are worth to the Brave 10 times whatever heywood could ever dream of being. They delivered the best in the league while heywood had to be babied and pampered to get the swelling out of his head. It’s a joke what they pay the two pitchers and what they pay that other dude. But then there’s other factors at work here. Right hank?

OldBravesBag

March 3rd, 2012
10:51 am

I agree with Jonathan….Venters should have been paid the same. That is a slap in his face. He’s been a workhorse these past two season until his arm has fallen off. What are they thinking?

Crockett

March 3rd, 2012
10:53 am

DOB- After reading your explanation, does the Hanson unilaterally renewed contract then throw up any signals of a strained relationship with Boras or am I reading too much into that?

JayDubu

March 3rd, 2012
11:48 am

Roster salary is ~$80 million…the $10 mil they’re paying D-Lowe to pitch for Cleveland. That $10 mil should be taken from the front offices’ pay over the net 10+ years, until the debt is satisfied.

bobby

March 3rd, 2012
1:16 pm

Why go to a 10 team playoff? Why not just make all teams eligible for the playoffs? When only the pennant winners or division leaders were eligible it meant something. Oh, I forgot it will bring in more money.

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