Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei (left) talks with Braves chairman Terry McGuirk at a Braves game in 2016.

Braves are ‘going to spend some money,’ Liberty Media CEO says

The chief executive of Liberty Media said during a wide-ranging interview on CNBC this week that the Braves are “going to spend some money.”

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei was asked by CNBC’s David Faber if the Braves, owned by Liberty, will “have to spend even more in free agency to make that last leap into the World Series.” 

“We’re well set up, as you know, with great young talent – Ronald Acuna Jr., (Ozzie) Albies, obviously Freddie Freeman,” Maffei replied. “But in addition, you know we just signed Will Smith, probably the best reliever in baseball. 

“Yeah, we’re going to spend some money. We have relative freedom under the cap and in our payroll compared to most people, including the Mets.”

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Maffei’s mention of “the cap” apparently was a reference to MLB’s luxury tax threshold, which the Braves are far below. The reference to the Mets came after Maffei kidded Faber earlier in the interview about Faber being a Mets fan. 

The interview was conducted in New York at a Liberty Media “investor day” event Thursday.

The Braves ended their 2019 season with a major-league player payroll of $138 million, which increased to $144 million with the payment of $6 million in buyouts of 2020 options in four players’ contracts. The team hasn’t disclosed its payroll target for next season.

After the recent signings of Smith to a three-year contract for $13 million annually and reliever Chris Martin to a two-year contract for $7 million annually, the Braves’ current payroll commitments for next season are projected at around $106 million, if they offer contracts to all of their arbitration-eligible players at the Dec. 2 deadline. But that figure doesn’t include some expensive needs the Braves are looking to address on the free-agent or trade markets.

They need a catcher, need to re-sign free-agent third baseman Josh Donaldson (or acquire another slugger to replace him) and need to add a veteran starting pitcher.

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