A Large Pile of ‘Dead Money’ Has Given the Braves a Payroll Much Different from Original Appearances
Given the volume of information contained in this spreadsheet, it is certainly possible to have a few errors. Hopefully they are relatively minor, but I will be happy to make corrections as warranted (or I’ll just have my friend @BravesOptions to go over it with a fine-toothed comb as we compare notes constantly on this topic 🙂 ).
General philosophies employed:
- Includes the 25-man roster, all players under contract that attached to the 25-man or 40-man rosters, those with payments due from such contracts, and those who are being paid as major league players. That includes Jhoulys Chacin … in part because we know to expect him next week, and I’m kind of lazy and don’t wish to have to add him later on.
- John Gant is in an odd position here: yes, he’s on the roster today, and will get a major league minimum paycheck soon. However, by the time he gets that check, it is pretty likely that he will be back at Gwinnett and that $507,500 annual salary will be lowered to AAA levels… though he will get a bump for being on the 40-man roster. Nonetheless, I counted him as if being paid for the season at major league rates, so that’s a known and accepted error.
- Most other payroll sources (notably Cots) will show different salary figures for extended contracts. That’s because they are accounting for them in ‘AAV’ (Annual Average Value) terms. This is necessary for calculating things like Qualifying Offer values and luxury taxes. However, I prefer to charge contract bonuses at the time they are actually paid.
So with that as an introduction, let’s get to the chart (click ’em to embiggem and see notes at bottom):
This spreadsheet comes in 3 major sections:
More from Tomahawk Take
- Braves News: Braves re-sign Stephens, Will Atlanta extend Max Fried?, more
- Notable Atlanta Braves Reunions Since 2003: Pitcher Edition
- Braves News: Braves re-sign Jackson Stephens
- Braves News: Braves prospect rankings, Correa deal with Mets at risk, more
- Why the Atlanta Braves won’t extend Max Fried
- Active players (plus Chacin)
- Attached, though inactive players… or those being paid like it
- Special accounting adjustments, often for unattached players (mostly the ‘dead’ money)
Earlier in the prior off-season, we were hopeful that this $94,251,500 number was going to be lower – perhaps as low as $81 million. But a sequence of events brought us here:
- Inability to gain any relief for either Nick Swisher or Michael Bourn
- Signing – then cutting – multiple players, including Emilio Bonifacio
- Signing – then keeping – multiple players (Stubbs, Ogando, Chacin, O’Flaherty, etc)
- Being forced to disable multiple players from the 25-man roster
There are also some rather bizarre entries on the chart:
- Bruce Sutter. If you want the particulars, then please check my write-up from last July of this deal. Nobody talks about it, but it truly makes Bobby Bonilla‘s deal with the Mets look cheap by comparison.
- Dan Uggla. His contract is now done, but his original signing bonus was actually deferred, and continues for four more years.
The gifts that keep on giving
So all of this means that while the Braves are shelling out $94.4 million this season, only $66,291,250 of that is current for players on the 25-man roster (as constituted today, prior to Chacin).
One note: these figures could go a bit higher via incentive clauses. Many of the free agent veterans signed in the off-season have such provisions, which are usually based on starts (appearances for the relievers). While most are not that significant, Bud Norris gets another 1/4 million for 8 starts; 1/2 million for each increment of 12/15/20/24/28 starts.
Does this ‘live money/dead money’ ratio get better anytime soon? Yes – excepting Uggla and Sutter, all of the Dead Money vanishes after this end of the season, leaving only six players being paid under contract terms beyond 2016.
Future scoping. With under $50 million in committed dollars after 2016, that will leave a lot of financial flexibility for the Braves as they roll into SunTrust Park next April. That’s the good news.
What will Coppy spend that on? Ah, but we have all season to speculate on that!