Opening Day Player Payroll: Inside the Numbers -- The Hardball Times

A nice review of Opening Day baseball salary numbers over at the Hardball Times. The Braves are interesting: they have a modest $4M increase in the total roster payroll, and sit in the upper third of the league in total payroll. However, the median salary for the Braves' roster is $462,500 - 4th lowest in the league! It's pretty easy to see how this dichotomy arose: combine aging All-Star/potential Hall-of-Famers (Andruw, Chipper, Smoltz) plus a boatload of young (read: ineligible for arbitration) talent (McCann, Langerhans, Francour, the bullpen) and you get a total payroll dominated by a few heavy contracts.

What I wonder is if this is sustainable position for the franchise: obviously, the salaries of the yound players can go nowhere but up. In fact, if the Braves are to maintain their success of the past 15 years, they'll need several of the youngsters to make the jump to the all-star level, meaning an even bigger hike in total payroll. While there are a few albatross contracts (Hampton) that skew the totals, you can see the Braves only have a finite number of slots for high-cost talent. Which of the current Baby Braves will be the first casualty of arbitration- and free-agency-driven inflation? Guess we have to wait and see...

Opening Day Player Payroll: Inside the Numbers -- The Hardball Times: "Opening Day Player Payroll: Inside the Numbers"

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