From the AJC:
The Braves have set a player payroll budget of $94 million for this year, leaving them with several million dollars still to spend, the team's chairman and CEO said.
Terry McGuirk, in a wide-ranging interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in his Turner Field office, also said team owner Liberty Media has expressed no intention of selling the club in the near future.
And on another significant note, McGuirk disclosed that the Braves are locked into 25-year local TV contracts that will prevent the franchise from cashing in on Major League Baseball's trend toward dramatically higher telecast rights fees.
That's not to say that it's necessarily bad news either. At least the team knows what it's revenue will be in the foreseeable future, and knows that it will have to continue to build from within, and compete that way. My first follow-up question would be (and Tim Tucker should have asked this), "why isn't the team spending more in the draft and in the international market?" If the Braves can't complete with free agents, and has to retool from within, why aren't more resources being allocated to signing young players?
Here is another good quote from the article (which everyone should read in full):
"In a way, I almost relish when one of our competitors goes in the free-agent market because it’s so inefficient and such a bad use of dollars," he added. "You almost never get the value out of a free-agent market expense. We all have limited dollars to spend, so if someone in wasting those dollars in a competitive situation, it helps us."
That's an interesting valuation of the market, and one that should give us some insight into how the Braves front office evaluates players and contracts (and probably how they realize that they got burned by the Lowe and Kawakami deals).
Interesting insight from the Braves CEO. I wonder why he felt he needed to reveal all this stuff. The Braves have kept most of this close to the vest for a long time, so what's the advantage in revealing it now? I'm glad he did, even though it's not the best of news, but at least it tells us what the reality of the team's payroll is. And I guess that's the best explanation for why this news was released, the club felt like it had to provide an answer for why it wasn't doing anything this off-season. The second quote about free agents really reveals the whole reason why McGuirk gave this interview.
"Why didn't the Braves sign any big free agents," the fans ask.
"Hahaha," says the front office, "the joke is on those other teams who overspent on free agents."
(Note that the Braves are still paying for the last time they overspent on free agents.)