Everyone is wondering how much money the Braves will have to spend this offseason. Well, it’s hard to know as we really don’t know the exact number for the set payroll. General manager Alex Anthopoulos hinted Monday he wasn’t even sure of the figure, at least not yet.
However, it seems logical to try and figure out what we know and what we can project.
The website spotrac.com seems to have very accurate information on what the Braves paid to players in 2018. That total number was $130,599,395.
Of that amount, we have projected that approximately $69,737,000 of what was paid is coming off the books. The following chart is in millions: (according to spotrac.com)
$22.357 – Adrian Gonzalez
$17.666 – Scott Kazmir
$11.050 – Nick Markakis
$7.00 – Brandon McCarthy
$3.85 – Kurt Suzuki
$1.749 – Brad Brach
$1.100 – Rex Brothers
$1.00 – Peter Bourjos
$1.00 – Anibal Sanchez
$2.965 – 9 other players making under $1 million
So, that would be 60,862,395 left if we’re dealing with the same amount from 2018. However, projections for salary arbitration and salary increases have the potential total for 2019 already at $87,914,000. The projections include numbers from MLB Trade Rumors.com.
If the projected 2019 payroll stays around $130,000,000, and if no one is non-tendered or traded from the projected roster of players currently on the 40-man, that would leave about $42,000,000 to spend to improve the roster.
Several arbitration-eligible players could be non-tendered. This list includes Arodys Vizcaino (projected 2019 salary of $4.8 million) Adam Duvall ($3.1 million), Dan Winkler ($1.6) and Sam Freeman ($1.5). That could knock another additional $10 million off that $89 million figure and give the Braves more than $50 million to improve the team.
Let’s assume that Winkler and Freeman will be non-tendered. That would mean that if the 2019 payroll did not increase, the Braves would have right around $45 million to spend.
What if the Braves trade Julio Teheran, or maybe Ender Inciarte? That could offset some of the additional payroll that could be added and not have such a high net addition to the payroll.
Anthopoulos said Monday the 2019 payroll will increase. The question is how much of an increase are we talking about. If there’s a 10% increase, that would put the payroll number around $143 million. Under our scenario, the Braves would then have $58 million to spend.
That jives around the number MLB.com’s Mark Bowman threw out Monday on Twitter: “Today’s session with Anthopoulos confirmed the Braves will have plenty financial flexibility. Specifics weren’t revealed, but it appears they’ll have at least $60M to fill multiple needs.”
However, one thing else should be considered. Let’s say the Braves signed Bryce Harper, the most heralded free agent on the market. Some are trying to downplay the possibility, but shouldn’t the Braves consider the potential impact of signing such a talented player?
The Braves drew $2.55 million fans this past season. What if the addition of Harper, and the projected better season they would have, could put the Braves attendance at $2.9 million. That would be an increase of 350,000 more fans that would come to games and visit SunTrust Park.
Let’s just say each fan spends an average of $100 at a Braves game, including ticket, parking, food, souvenirs, etc. That would be an additional $35,000,000 to the Braves bottom line.
Wouldn’t that allow the Braves to spend the money on a player like Harper? It seems hard for them to potentially argue they couldn’t afford a player like Harper if the potential increase to the attendance would be a boom for their bottom line.
Maybe Anthopoulos can convince CEO Terry McGuirk that adding a player like Harper would literally pay for itself with a potential windfall at the turnstiles.
Regardless of what the exact numbers may be, it is obvious the Braves have significant wiggle room to add talent to the 90-win team from 2018. With an outstanding farm system and great depth to deal from, there is a great chance Anthopoulos could be the busiest general manager in baseball this offseason.