Currently, the payroll of the Atlanta Braves is sitting around ~$100 million. Based off of last year’s total payroll number of $135 million, there’s still about $35 million that can safely be spent this offseason.
The Atlanta Braves aren’t contenders…yet. However, they can be, and there’s room on the books to do so. If used correctly, the available $35 million can make a world of difference, and this is especially true when trades are also a factor.
While I believe that the Braves could (and eventually will) afford a payroll of around $150 million, that cannot be assumed, so for our purposes here, payroll assumption will not exceed $135 million.
Now, $35 million is a good bit of money, but taking that money and using it to make the Atlanta Braves contenders requires a savvy approach. Cutting corners through signing several cheap, decent players, or crafting trades to save a few extra dollars. Personally, I wouldn’t want Atlanta to take the discount route, as those guys don’t always pan out.
With payroll-oriented trades, though, come hurt feelings. Occasionally, a guy that the fans love will wind up being more valuable to the front office as a trade piece than as a roster piece, and this is perfectly okay.
Fans tend to overreact when an exceptionally likable player is traded away, and they fail to realize that the return of the trade could have a greater impact on the team than the player that was traded away ever could.
This wasn’t the case with Andrelton Simmons and Craig Kimbrel. Austin Riley wound up being drafted by the Atlanta Braves thanks to the Kimbrel trade, so that trade may become a minor victory if he pans out as expected, but it’s possible that a fan-favorite could be traded in a deal that does benefit the team.
Without further ado, let’s dive into a couple of trades that could create a bit more payroll wiggle room and improve the MLB roster at the same time.