Today we revisit the money chart. I posted the first version of this Braves salaries chart on Thanksgiving, and the Braves have made a few changes since then so it's time to run an updated version out there. They've added salary in Will Ohman and Omar Infante, as well as possible salary in Javy Lopez.
#: On the previous chart I had listed Mike Hampton's salary as $15 million, but it was pointed out that the Braves were budgeting the average salary each year of the total they owed Hampton for the entire time he would be in Atlanta. So instead of the $15 million, the average per year they are on the hook for is only $8 million - according to their accounting. Therefore, the lower number is what I will put in the chart, because they should have already budgeted for the remaining $7 million they owe him this year, in the previous years.
(Note: A ~ indicates an estimation of what a player's salary will be after arbitration. An * indicates an option year.)
|2008 Braves Salary Overview|
|Brian McCann||2||Under Contract||$800,000||$3,500,000||$5,500,000|
|Chipper Jones||5||Under Contract||$11,000,000||$11,000.000||FA|
|John Smoltz||SP-1||Under Contract||$14,000,000||$12,000,000*||$13,000,000*|
|Tim Hudson||SP-2||Under Contract||$13,000,000||$13,000,000||$12,000,000*|
|Tom Glavine||SP-3||Under Contract||$8,000,000||FA||FA|
|Mike Hampton||SP-4||Under Contract||$8,000,000#||FA||FA|
|Will Ohman||Bullpen||Under Contract||$1,600,000||FA||FA|
Like the title of the post says, assuming all my calculations are correct, then the Braves have a TON of money left that they can spend this year. They could even get taken in every one of their arbitration cases and still have $5 to $10 million left in payroll flexibility. No wonder they were trying to acquire Dan Haren and may be in on Eric Bedard or Rich Harden deeper than anyone really believes they are.
With this kind of money left, I have to believe that we WILL see another major move by the Braves this year. For some reason my gut tells me it will be a trade for someone who was previously thought off the market or has never been mentioned in trade talks. Or it could be someone like Brian Fuentes from the Rockies, and unlike the assertion by AJC beat writer David O'Brien, we would be willing to pick up Fuentes' salary. Of course, if that is the case then why were we not in on the Ron Mahay talks with more gusto? He just signed a two-year $8 million deal with the Royals of all teams. Fuentes would likely be pricier than that, but he is much younger and still growing into his stuff.
We may also be holding out for a more bargain price on a center fielder like Mike Cameron, or we may be shopping for another free agent starter - Odalis Perez, Kris Benson, Freddy Garcia, or some other reclamation project.
Regardless, we seem to have a lot more money left over than many people think. How will we spend it? There's still almost two months until those three magical words: pitchers and catchers; that's plenty of time to work the phones and pull off a big deal. Remember that the Mike Gonzalez trade happened in mid-to-late January; plenty of time left.