ATLANTA, Ga – On Monday, the Braves made a rather surprising move at the Non-Tender deadline as they declined to offer a contract to super utilityman Charlie Culberson for the 2020 season. In addition, the club declined to tender deals to catcher John Ryan Murphy and outfielder Rafael Ortega. All three are now free agents and are able to sign with any club.
In two seasons with the Braves, Culberson combined to hit .267 with 17 homers in 431 at bats. But those numbers are a bit misleading since 12 of those 17 home runs came in 2018 and he was mostly known for his clutch hits off the bench, including a pair of walkoff homers. Over two years with his hometown Braves, Culberson found himself at seven of nine defensive positions, even appearing in three as a relief pitcher. In 2018, playing time was more frequent due to an injury to Ronald Acuña, but last season, Culberson was limited to just 144 plate appearances with the emergence of Austin Riley and signing of Adeiny Hechavarria.
Various outlets had projected Culberson to make roughtly $1.8 million dollars in salary arbitration going into 2020 but his absence will now likely open the door to more playing time for Johan Camargo, who seemed to gain his confidence back down the stretch after a three week stint in Gwinnett in August.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and @BravesRadioNet.