Report: Luxury tax won’t be the reason the Braves don’t make a move

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The Braves are expected to have a top-five payroll in baseball following multiple statements from the most senior individuals in the Braves and Liberty Media organizations. They didn’t specify when the club would enter the territory, only that it is expected. And for what feels like the hundredth time, Alex Anthopoulos confirmed the Braves will have no problem crossing the luxury tax threshold if the deal is right.

The Braves aren’t going to box themselves into any one corner; they want as many possible options on the table to weigh the best choice. The biggest decision will revolve around shortstop and whether the Braves will pay Dansby Swanson after he just turned in the best season of his career, capping it off with All-Star and Gold Glove honors. Swanson was the best defensive shortstop in baseball and posted the best offensive numbers of his career with a .277 batting average, 25 homers and 96 RBIs. Swanson also accumulated 6.4 fWAR, which was the 12th most in the MLB.

If Swanson doesn’t re-sign with the Braves, it isn’t because of a lack of funds, nor was going with Matt Olson over Freddie Freeman. AA and the Braves front office are all about value. If the move makes the Braves better and is reasonably feasible, the club will make it. And it’s very possible that Swanson’s 2022 campaign was just a flash in the pan. He has been a .255 hitter over his seven-year big-league career, and his power and defense will likely decline with age. He’s also maybe the streakiest hitter in baseball. To end the 2022 season, Swanson hit just .237 with a .693 OPS over his final 55 games, and that trend continued against the Phillies in the NLDS. Consistency has always been and will be an issue for Swanson.

But it’s not just about Swanson, even if that’s all Braves Country is focused on. Anthopoulos is looking to upgrade the roster in any way he can, hence all the rumors about the team’s interest in a catcher, despite boasting the best trio of backstops in baseball, and an All-Star outfielder. The Braves have been linked to Bryan Reynolds and Sean Murphy in recent days, and though those rumors haven’t come to fruition, it shows the organization’s willingness to improve every facet of the roster, regardless of the position and medium of the acquisition — trade, free agency, etc.

All options are on the table for the Braves, and if Alex Anthopoulos sees value in any potential move, the club will absolutely pull the trigger, not just on a shortstop or Dansby Swanson, but any player at any position if the deal makes sense.

Photo: David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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