2014 Payroll Outlook (updated w/ CK+JT ext's)

Before the last week and a half (extensions everywhere!), this winter had been pretty uneventful for Braves fans. Wren and co. have stayed put with the roster besides a few minor signings. This left me somewhat bored even though I mostly agree with their decisions. So as the math major that I am, I started looking thoroughly into the payroll situation for this season and the future. I did some research on all of the available contract info for the Braves (mostly on COT's Contracts).

Here are my findings for all of the guaranteed contracts plus the arbitration cases. [Note - I'm looking at what the Braves are actually paying this year, not the cap hit, which is slightly different]

Justin Upton - $14,250,000
B.J. Upton - $13,450,000
Dan Uggla - $13,000,000
Craig Kimbrel - $8,000,000 ($7M salary plus $1M signing bonus)
Kris Medlen - $5,800,000
Jason Heyward - $5,500,000 ($4.5M salary plus $1M signing bonus)
Freddie Freeman - $5,125,000 (plus unknown amount of $2.875M bonus)
Chris Johnson - $4,750,000
Gavin Floyd - $4,000,000
Mike Minor - $3,850,000
Ryan Doumit - $3,500,000
Julio Teheran - $1,800,000 ($800K salary plus $1M signing bonus)
Jonny Venters - $1,625,000
Gerald Laird - $1,500,000
Jordan Walden - $1,490,000
Brandon Beachy - $1,450,000
Jordan Schafer - $1,090,000
Ramiro Pena - $550,000

This brings us to $90,730,000 purely on guaranteed contracts and already-solved Arb cases. We still have to account for Freddy Garcia's potential salary, Reed Johnson's buyout, Pre-Arbitration salaries, and bonus/incentives. Counting the 17 guaranteed contracts plus Kimbrel, we have 7 spots left on the roster to be filled by Pre-Arb guys and/or free agents signed to minor league contracts (Garcia, Gamel, Hamilton, etc.) Let's assume they all go to Pre-Arb players for simplicity. 1st-year Pre-Arb guys will get the league minimum salary of $500K. All others will get the 18-20% increase of their 2013 salary (this is the Brave's standard raise procedure).

Andrelton Simmons - $589,500
Luis Avilan - $589,500
Evan Gattis - $588,000
Anthony Varvaro - $588,000
David Carpenter - $582,000
Tyler Pastornicky - $576,000
Alex Wood - $500,000

This brings our total payroll so far up to $94,743,000. The addition of the $150,000 buyout of Reed Johnson's option year barely increases the total to $94,893,000. Now, this could change at the end of March if Freddy Garcia makes the roster and his $1,250,000 salary becomes guaranteed. This would add about $700,000 as he would be replacing a Pre-Arb contract.

Now here is a list of players with possible incentive bonuses.

Gavin Floyd - $250K for each start 21-28, $500K for each start 30-33, $175K for 15 days on the 25-man roster, and $250K each for 30 days and 60 days on the roster. This is a possible total of $4,675,000, but I think he will only get $675,000 for the roster bonuses and won't reach 21 starts.

Gerald Laird - $100K for reaching each amount of games started - 80, 90, 100, 110, 120. This is a possibility of $500,000, but he won't get any of it unless something disastrous happens to Gattis.

Jordan Walden - $10,000 for 30 games finished. Again, this will only happen if Kimbrel misses extended time as Walden only finished 9 games last year.

Brandon Beachy - $25,000 for starting 30 games. Even if he is healthy and performing well, Braves will likely let him skip starts or put him in bullpen for some time. So he is unlikely to reach that number.

That leaves us with a realistic amount of $675,000 for incentive bonuses which is fairly minimal. However, Freeman's contract contains incentive clauses and it is unknown if they can affect his 2014 salary (I assume not until later years though). So after all of this, the Opening Day payroll looks like it will be $94,893,000. Plus a possible ~$1.3M if Garcia makes the team and Floyd is on the roster for 60+ days. And maybe another $2-3M in Freeman's signing bonus. This is a good estimate, but the Braves FO has always been less than transparent about the way it actually counts what affects this year's payroll number.

Since we can't get the exact number and there are still a few factors that could change the payroll figures, let's call it an even $95 million. If what we've heard is true, the Braves' 2014 budget seems to be about $100 million. This leaves us with $5-10 million to work with in order to make midseason moves such as trades, waiver moves, etc. What do you guys think we will do with this remaining financial flexibilty? What do you think we should do?

This FanPost does not express the views or opinions of Talking Chop.

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