The signing of free-agent pitcher Dallas Keuchel raised the Braves’ player payroll to the verge of where it was at the end of last season.
The payroll, which was $114.4 million at the start of this season, has climbed to $129.3 million, mainly because of the addition of Keuchel’s $13 million salary for the rest of the season.
The Braves had a payroll of $130.1 million at the end of last season.
The AJC’s calculations include players on the 25-man active roster and on the injured list, plus Keuchel, who is scheduled to join the team after a short tune-up stint in the minor leagues. The totals include salaries paid by the Braves during the year to players no longer on the roster and prorated portions of signing bonuses. Totals are adjusted to reflect amounts received in trades from other teams to offset salaries of acquired players.
Now that the Braves’ payroll is back in the neighborhood of where it ended last season, the next financial question will be how far above that level they prove willing to go before the July 31 trade deadline.
The Braves’ current payroll ranks 15th among the 30 MLB teams, up from 21st at the start of the season, according to sports contracts tracker Spotrac.com. It still ranks fourth among the five NL East teams.
Keuchel is scheduled to make his first start in the Braves’ organization Monday night, pitching at Single-A Rome. The AJC will be there.
LEADOFF NOTES AND LINKS
> At SunTrust Park, the Braves will open a 10-game homestand Monday night with the first of four games against the Pirates, followed by two series against NL East opponents: the Phillies next weekend and the Mets early next week. The Braves return home just one game behind the Phillies in the division standings. So far this season, the Braves are 16-15 at home and 20-14 on the road.
> The Braves continue to take advantage of games against the Marlins. They’re 8-1 vs. Miami this season after completing a three-game series sweep with an impressive come-from-behind win Sunday. The Braves are 28-28 against everyone else.
> From Sunday’s AJC: The Braves’ local TV deal is bringing in a lot more money than widely believed. See the full report here.
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