The Braves would have received a draft pick to compensate for the loss of Gonzalez if they had offered arbitration and he signed with another team, but the Braves were not willing to risk paying Gonzalez upwards of $4 million.
Gonzalez has provided both flashy and reliable defense at shortstop over the past year and a half, but the 34-year-old veteran is looking for a multiyear deal, and Braves want to give Tyler Pastornicky or Andrelton Simmons a shot at the big league level. Both are expected to be ready for the majors by 2013, and Pastornicky could be called up sometime in 2012.
Gonzalez batted .241 with 15 home runs and a .642 OPS in 149 games with the Braves last season.
A Type B free agent, Gonzalez was the Braves' only ranked free agent.
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