The off-season is all but over; Spring is in the (Florida) air. The Atlanta Braves are about to start trickling into their new North Port digs.
You have to admit - it's been an eventful off-season. Happily, the Atlanta Braves haven't just sat on the sidelines for most of it: in fact, they have driven much of the action in the free agent market.
No, it hasn't been $200-$300+ million deals... and that's fine. But what they have done is to set a new baseline in spending for some years to come.
In considering the monies spent - and research done for this piece - the Braves may have found themselves a fairly comfortable niche in the payroll to become their baseline for the future.
That number is nominally around $150 million, though as has been noted in these pages, that's a counting number but not a luxury tax number (isn't it wild that we're having to even bring up the subject of a luxury tax threshold when discussing the Braves??).
Such a figure still provides quite sufficient 'headroom' for Atlanta to compete for anyone at the trade deadline without risking a penalty... something the other NL East clubs can't say.
More Cash Because...?
This next tweet is really about the Detroit Tigers and the fact that they are now the lone team isolated in Florida's interior for Grapefruit League play, but it does wrap up a notable number for the Atlanta Braves.
That $139 million is a huge figure... easily the most expensive Spring complex ever for a single team (the Nationals/Astros facility in West Palm Beach cost $153 million... maybe more if the teams don't finish paying up).
It does appear that Atlanta got their monies' worth on the place - despite that the original cost estimate escalated by close to $70 million. Here's one opinion...
It's a 30-year facility (at least) built on 70 acres, and was built exactly as the Braves wanted it done.
It seats 6,200 (not counting 1,800 berm seats and standing room. It has training facilities, six practice fields, at least one infield-only field, their sports-medicine 'academy' and a lot more.
But now it's paid for... so between North Port ready to generate some revenue and the Battery nearly fully occupied, the Braves should have a lot more positive cash flow in 2020... which in turn is actually being used to acquire talent.
The additional bit is that the Florida Fire Frogs will also play in that stadium this Summer... possibly a last hurrah before being contracted into oblivion once MLB implements their evil plan to rid their landscape of 42 minor league clubs. Regardless - this should get more - and unexpected - revenue for Atlanta.
The Braves are undefeated in their new park - the result of a quick intro to the place at the end of last year's Spring campaign.
Next week, they get to start breaking it in for real.