The Braves have reached out to teams with competitive balance draft selections — the only kind that can be traded — in an attempt to bolster their number of draft choices and available bonus pool, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports (Twitter links). Atlanta is offering to take on bad contracts from other organizations to facilitate such arrangements.
It’s not exactly a new strategy for the Braves. Most recently, the club added a comp selection from the Marlins in last summer’s 13-player blockbuster and effectively purchased the recently-drafted Touki Toussaint from the Diamondbacks by taking over the contract of Bronson Arroyo. Before that, it added a 2015 comp pick in the Craig Kimbrel deal and got another from Arizona for young outfielder Victor Reyes.
With the club off to a miserable start, which more or less precludes any hope of contending in the present season, it isn’t surprising to learn that Atlanta is looking to pad its draft pool. Their current record has no bearing on the team’s draft assets this summer, of course, but it does suggest that the club will be going all-out to acquire young talent rather than holding or, especially, looking to add to the major league roster at the deadline.
The Braves currently are set to pick 3rd, 40th (via Miami), and 44th in the upcoming draft, and carry the fourth-most pool money. At present, the Padres have leapfrogged Atlanta in total bonus availability (by just under $500K) despite a lower draft position, which is due to San Diego’s supplemental first-round picks.
In terms of trade partners, the organization could conceivably try to add selections from the Reds (#35), Athletics (#37), Rockies (#38), Diamondbacks (#39), or Pirates (#41). Those choices range in value from just over $1.8MM on the high end, down to just over $1.5MM. Picks 71 through 77 can also be traded (excepting #74); they are controlled by the Padres, Indians, Twins, Brewers, Orioles, and Rays, respectively, and none is worth over $905.9K.
Of course, in many cases, Atlanta would be trying to pry draft resources from clubs that have just as much incentive as they do to preserve the ability to spend on amateur talent this summer. That’s certainly evident in the case of the Padres and also the Reds, who currently possess the highest bonus pool, but the Rockies (fifth), A’s (sixth), and Brewers (eighth) also sit in the top ten. Arizona could be positioned to be a draft pick seller again, but the club has already packaged most of its bad contracts with young talent in other swaps, and seemed determined not to part with this particular selection over the winter by signing a second qualifying offer-declining free agent.