The Atlanta Braves’ decision to trade Jake Odorizzi for Kolby Allard did not make much sense on the surface. Odorizzi is a respectable enough piece towards the back of a rotation, someone that can help stabilize a pitching staff. While the Braves’ rotation is seemingly set, one can never have too many arms as injuries can cause havoc to any rotation.
In this case, the Braves may have other plans. While they sent $10 million to the Rangers to help cover Odorizzi’s salary, the Braves are saving $2.5 million this season. That amount could be earmarked toward an extension for Dansby Swanson.
Every dollar counts as Atlanta Braves look to keep Dansby Swanson
The Braves have stated that they consider Swanson a priority this offseason. Swanson himself has said that he wants to stay in Atlanta. However, as the Braves are reportedly wary of exceeding the luxury tax, set for $233 million in 2023, it is a matter of getting the math to work.
This trade could allow that to happen. According to Baseball-Reference, the Braves have a projected payroll of $195.6 million for 2023. However, that does not include the amount being sent to Texas, moving that number to $205.6 million. This would leave the Braves with $27.4 million to fill out the roster.
In theory, that could allow Swanson to fit while remaining under the salary cap. If he is able to negotiate a contract similar to what Javier Baez and Trevor Story received – six years and $140 million – the Braves would still be a few million under that mark. Adding further upgrades to the roster may be difficult without another move or two, but it could be done.
Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not the Braves are comfortable making that sort of investment in Swanson. They do, in theory, have a replacement in Vaughn Grissom waiting in the wings. Swanson may be a priority for the Braves, but they do have their own budget to consider. Trading Odorizzi, even if they are continuing to eat part of that salary, could help ease that burden.
Trading Jake Odorizzi for Kolby Allard did not make much sense for the Atlanta Braves. However, that partial savings could help keep Dansby Swanson in town.