Braves salaries that could be traded to create cap space

Braves trade deadline Rosario

According to FanGraphs, the Braves can’t sign all of their arbitration eligible players and Dansby Swanson without going into the luxury tax in 2023 — a place they’ve never been willing to go before. That could change this year, but if the Braves want to avoid the tax and re-sign Dansby Swanson, they must find a way to shed salary. I don’t think all of these candidates are likely to be moved — even if the Braves desperately try — but here are the most obvious ways they can create more cap space and avoid going into the luxury tax.

Marcell Ozuna

This is the most lucrative contract the Braves could trade to create more space. Unfortunately, it’s also the most difficult. Ozuna is a replacement level player (and that’s being generous) that is set to make $18 million in 2023 and 2024. Toss in the negative PR any team trading for him would incur, and it makes trading him nearly impossible. There’s a chance the Braves could get it done, but it would likely take multiple prospects. Even then, Atlanta would still have to eat some of the money. It’s an avenue the Braves will explore with anyone who will listen, but I’m not sure if a team will bite the bullet.

Eddie Rosario

Rosario’s contract is much more palatable for other clubs. He’s owed $9 million next season and is set to become a free agent in 2024. There also might be teams that believe he could bounce back from his abysmal 2022 campaign and actually provide value in 2023, unlike Ozuna. I think the Braves could find a suitor for Rosario without eating a large portion of the contract or including any of their top prospects. However, by trading him, the Braves hole in left field gets much wider.

Kirby Yates

With Kenley Jansen likely heading elsewhere in free agency and Tyler Matzek set to miss the entire 2023 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, the Braves bullpen could use a bounce back campaign from Kirby Yates. With that being said, if it comes down to moving Yates in order to save money or re-signing Dansby Swanson, it’s a no-brainer decision. Yates is owed $5.75 million in 2023 and hasn’t produced since the 2019 season, so his contract won’t be easy to move, but I think it could be done.

Manny Piña

Without question, this is the easiest player the Braves can deal this offseason, and they probably should. With Travis d’Arnaud and William Contreras in the fold, the need for Piña is a luxury Atlanta can’t afford. The market for catchers in free agency is also extremely thin, so plenty of teams will be interested in Piña. Of course, it also saves the Braves the least amount of money on this list. Piña is owed just $4.5 million in 2023; still, that’s enough breathing room created for Atlanta to explore moving him over the next several months.

Thanks for reading about the Braves cap space, be sure to check out all the other offseason content on the site!

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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