The Atlanta Braves had a victory on Wednesday, but while it’s good for their finances, it’s not the kind of win that usually lifts the team’s morale.
They won their arbitration hearing versus one of their budding stars, Austin Riley, and will pay him a lower salary than the one he was asking for.
“The Braves won their arbitration case against Austin Riley, per source. Riley will earn $3.95M in 2022; he had filed for $4.2M,” Mark Feinsand of MLB tweeted.
The Braves won their arbitration case against Austin Riley, per source. Riley will earn $3.95M in 2022; he had filed for $4.2M.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) May 11, 2022
These hearings can get ugly: it’s not the players’ dream to have their own team pointing out to their deficiencies and weaknesses as ballplayers.
A Less Than Ideal Situation
It’s certainly not an ideal situation, but since the two sides didn’t agree on his salary in all these months, a hearing was the way to go.
Riley certainly did enough to earn a significant payday in 2021, slashing .303/.367/.531 with 31 home runs and 107 RBI.
He is one of the reasons the Braves felt that getting rid of Freddie Freeman wasn’t going to be so painful, because he is one of MLB’s top young sluggers.
It took a while for him to figure out MLB pitching (he hit .239/.301/.415 in 51 games back in 2020), but it happened last year.
In 2022, he is off to a terrific start at the plate, with a .237/.336/.482 line.
His batting average is less than ideal, but he has more than made up for it with his steady power production (seven home runs before Wednesday’s games) and solid on-base skills in the middle of a down year for offense as a whole.
It’s disappointing to see the Braves having to go to arbitration with such an important part of their lineup, but that’s baseball.