Much has been made about the Braves payroll entering 2023. Prior to doing anything this offseason, they were already set to have the highest payroll in franchise history — slightly below the luxury tax threshold, a place they have never been before.
Given how quiet the Braves have been this offseason, most fans — like myself — began to wonder if that was a hurdle they were afraid to cross. They let Dansby Swanson walk and have spent less than $3 million on free agents. However, all of that is a moot point after last night, when they inked Sean Murphy to a long-term extension.
Sean Murphy is officially Atlanta's long-term answer at catcher.
The @Braves newcomer signs a six-year contract with a 2029 club option. pic.twitter.com/qdV4kK7OKb
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) December 28, 2022
Now, Murphy will only make $4 million in 2023; however, that’s not how the luxury tax threshold is determined. It stems from the rosters average annual values. So while guys like Murphy, Harris, and Strider may only be making a few million next season, their AAVs are north of $10 million, which is why the Braves luxury tax payroll is significantly higher than their actual payroll for 2023.
Admittedly, I’ve been a bit frustrated with how the Braves have approached the last couple of offseasons, and Braves fans have the right to be upset. Seeing Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson donning different uniforms makes my stomach turn, and Atlanta continues to be stingy when it comes to free agency.
With that being said, the organization is going in the right direction when it comes to spending in a big way. They will be close to a top-five payroll in baseball this season, and I only expect it to continue to grow as the team rakes in cash from Truist Park and the surrounding Battery area. The Braves are also set to renegotiate their TV deal in a few years, which should significantly boost revenue even more. With the core of their team locked up for the next 5+ years, Atlanta is in an ideal place to remain a championship contender for a long time.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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