The cause and effect of the Braves alluring additions of Kelenic and Fletcher

After sending cash considerations and bad contracts to the Pirates and White Sox, we look at the real cost of Kelenic and Fletcher in 2024. Also, where do these acquisitions leave Vaughn Grissom?

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The Atlanta Braves made a series of moves to an additional $22.25 million in payroll to add David Fletcher and Jarred Kelenic to the roster. While Kelenic will only earn around $770k, Fletcher comes with a $7 million price tag. Additionally, the Braves balance book (remember those?) looks something like this:

Atlanta Braves cost of acquiring David Fletcher and Jarred Kelenic

David Fletcher: $6 million
Jarred Kelenic: $770K
Cash to Pirates for Marco Gonzales: $9.25 million
Cash to White Sox for Max Stassi: $6.26 million
Cash from Mariners for Evan White/Marco Gonzales: -$4.5 million

2024 net cost of adding Fletcher & Kelenic: $17.78 million

The Braves could have just kept Eddie Rosario for $9 million in 2024. So, what does it tell you that they have added a net of nearly $18 million in 2024 for David Fletcher and Jarred Kelenic? A few things stand out to me.

They love Kelenic's upside and believe in him. Kelenic has five years of team control as he enters his final pre-arbitration year.

They wanted insurance on Orlando Arcia in case he reverts to the guy who posted a 72 OPS+ over six years in Milwaukee. Read: Why David Fletcher could overtake Orlando Arcia in 2024.

On the next slide, I'll explore where Vaughn Grissom fits into the plans for 2024.

Where does Vaughn Grissom fit in after additions of Kelenic and Fletcher?

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves
New York Mets v Atlanta Braves / Alex Slitz/GettyImages

Vaughn Grissom is going to have to work hard for playing time. The additions of Fletcher and Kelenic present roadblocks to Grissom's pathways to playing time. He won't be used as a utility infielder after setting a 135-game pace of -53 defensive runs saved at shortstop last year. Anthopoulos has made comments about both Kelenic and Grissom getting chances in left field, and that might be the case. Both Grissom and Kelenic have shown a high upside with the bat. However, Kelenic is the price.

Kelenic is not a lock out of the gates. Over 974 major-league plate appearances, he has a 30.7% strikeout rate with an 85 wRC+. He's a project, a work in progress. His .204/.283/.373 triple slash leaves a LOT of room for improvement. He has a very high ceiling but Kevin Seitzer and the Braves coaching staff are going to need a tall ladder to help him reach it.

It's easy to argue that Grissom is a more polished big-league hitter than Kelenic at this point. Grissom only has 236 plate appearances in the Major Leagues, but his K-rate is about 10 points lower than Kelenic's. Grissom struck out at an even lower rate in the minor leagues.

Last year in AAA he sat down on strikes in just 14% of his plate appearances. Kelenic might have the higher future potential, but Grissom brings the ability to make contact and do some damage right now. Vaughn's power tends to be underestimated. He slugged .501 over 102 Triple-A games last season.

Grissom has a career triple slash line of .287/.339/.407. He will turn 23 in January, so he's a year younger than Kelenic. There's a real chance we see a healthy dose of Vaughn Grissom in 2024. Most likely that will depend upon Kelenic's success or struggles.

Atlanta Braves: Bottom line on the math

I left one thing out of the first section. I didn't subtract the cost of Eddie Rosario's option from the net $17.78 million the Braves have spent to bring in Kelenic and Fletcher. Once you do that, it becomes even easier to see how these moves have added up to success for Alex Anthopoulos and the Braves. Atlanta will spend an additional $8.78 million to go from one year of Rosario to five years of Kelenic with a backup infielder that could very well take the starting job from Arcia by season's end.

Since they are currently over the $237 million CBT threshold, I'm not going to get into the luxury tax implications. At this point, each move they make has a penalty attached. The bigger the move the bigger the penalty. Especially as the team tip-toes that second level at $257 million. Read more on the competitive balance tax here.

Sounds good to me. What do you think of the math here? Do these moves add up to a victory or are you not satisfied? Let us know via social media.

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