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Fangraphs: The Braves NBA-Style Rebuild


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There?s one adjustment required to translate this strategy from the NBA to the MLB: the Braves have been pursuing ? or perhaps a better way to say it is that they?ve been unafraid to take on ? dead money. According to numbers from Spotrac, 28.3% of the Braves? current payroll is wrapped up in dead salary. Most teams are under 5% dead salary. A few are at 0%. There are only three other teams in the Braves? neighborhood, and they?re all there for entirely different motivations. The Los Angeles Angels (16.6%) are there because of the Josh Hamilton fiasco. The Los Angeles Dodgers (18.9%) are there because of their famous largesse: willing to pay Matt Kemp, Dan Haren, and Brian Wilson to leave and thereby free a roster spot. The Arizona Diamondbacks (22%) owe Cody Ross, Trevor Cahill, and Mark Trumbo in an attempt to clear the slate for next season.
In the course of taking on so many ?toxic? assets (quotes because of Maybin?s awesome turnaround), Atlanta has acquired a high volume of premium prospects in an incredibly short span of time. Unlike Jeff Luhnow?s Astros or Dayton Moore?s Royals ? two teams which had to be rebooted basically from scratch ? the Braves already had a contention-worthy nucleus in place. Instead of wandering in the desert for three or four years, their efforts over the last eight months look like an incredibly effective one-year pivot, sped up exponentially by the team?s willingness to temporarily hold a bad contract.
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