The great thing about trade deadlines is it breeds some wonderfully entertaining scenarios, which of course make perfect sense at 1 a.m. after your fifth beer.
“Hey. I got it! We’ll trade our backup shortstop who’s hitting .227, and our pitcher who is coming off torn rotator cuff surgery and two prospects, but not our really good ones, for Albert Pujols! The Cardinals would do that! Frank Wren’s an idiot! Hey, did you eat the last chicken wing?”
Sometimes, logic and reality don’t quite sink in with fans. (Not you, of course. The other fans.) But here’s one reality you’re going to have to deal with: economics.
The Braves are in the same situation as most sports franchises right now. Sponsorships are down. Ticket sales are lagging. The only thing on the rise are discount nights. After years of being one of the top payroll teams in baseball, the Braves now are closer to the middle of the pack at $96.7 million (which ranks 11th). And that’s where they’re going to stay, folks.
I probably should have made a bigger issue of this in my early morning blog on the probability that the Braves will stand pat at the deadline. So I’ll try to make up for it now. The Braves are NOT going to take on salary. It’s not in the budget. While it’s true Wren might be happy with his current team, economics is a huge factor in his conservative approach.
Several readers have asked me why the Braves don’t deal for Washington outfielder/first baseman Adam Dunn. He’s a 40-home run guy who perfectly would fill their need for a power hitter. Well, really only two reasons:
1) He makes $8 million this season.
2) He makes $12 million next season.
There is no way Wren takes on that kind of salary, unless a trade allows him to move an equal amount of salary off the roster. But Washington isn’t going to accept that. They’ll want young cheap guys. When a player like Dunn is traded, it’s because the team trading him wants to cut costs. Payroll is going to hamstring any potential talks for a significant player.
Those days of the Braves spending whatever it took to win are long gone.
You may now resume your trade scenarios.