Atlanta Braves need more than a checkbook.
The Atlanta Braves have $159.3M committed to 15 players on the 2023 payroll and could jump to $166M if Ordorizzi opts out; more on that later. Using its estimates for arbitration, pre-arbitration, and minor league costs, Spotrac put’s team’s payroll at $188.5M. Writing for MLBTR, Steve Adams provides an estimate $5M higher and points out what it means.
". . . the Braves will have just over $193MM on next year’s Opening Day roster, before even making an addition."
The Braves don’t have an MLB-ready replacement for Dansby Swanson at short, need a left fielder, and would like a starting pitcher. Filling those holes will require some heavy lifting and slick deals by GM Alex Anthopoulos.
Move on from Marcell?
The obvious answer to clearing payroll space is trading Marcell Ozuna and most or all of his contract, but who would take him? Mark Bowman reported that the team offered to swap Ozuna for Patrick Corbin at the deadline, and the Nationals said no.
Apparently, GM Frank Rizzo was serious when he said the Nationals don’t care how good of a player is, they have zero tolerance and won’t allow players who don’t meet their standards on the team.
I believe the team will have to attach a couple of prospects to Ozuna to find a trade partner.
The hidden cost of Odorizzi
I’m not sure who negotiated Jake Odorizzi’s contract, but it’s so incentive laden he’s expensive to keep and costly to lose. His original contract covered three years at $23.5M with a $6M signing bonus. It breaks down like this.
- Signing bonus in three installments of $2M a year
- Player option for a third year of $12.5M or an opt-out with a $6.5M buyout.
- If he stays, he can earn $500K by reaching 100 IP
Odorizzi has to decide if he thinks he can get a contract of at least $7M on the open market and if the cost and annoyance of moving is worth the difference.