Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei briefly discussed the Braves outlook at a conference yesterday, as Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. The publicly traded conglomerate owns the Atlanta baseball club.
“I think the Atlanta management knows they have capacity to do more and are looking for the right deal,” Maffei said of the club’s present stance with regard to spending.
That sentence could be read in different ways. It’s unclear whether Maffei was referring to spending availability or trade capital. Neither is it evident how dedicated the club’s pursuit of “the right deal” is at present.
A few free agents would still fit the Braves roster, with former star closer Craig Kimbrel representing the most intriguing target for reasons practical and sentimental. Trade discussions could still be pursued as well; the deal that originally shipped Kimbrel out of Atlanta took place on the eve of Opening Day.
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In their own recent commentary on the organization’s spending, Braves chairman Terry McGuirk and GM Alex Anthopoulos similarly cited remaining payroll flexibility. They also downplayed the possibility of a major spend on a relief arm, emphasized the need to avoid “dead money” risk, and called a major acquisition before the start of the season a “coin flip.”
Whether or not another move is made, Maffei says, the Braves are “well set-up” for the coming season and beyond. He also called it “unfortunate” that the club plays in a division embroiled in a winter-long “arms race” — a state of affairs that arguably supports more aggressive acquisition efforts from the reigning National League East champions.
Ramping up payroll and/or committing it more freely would surely boost the immediate outlook. McGuirk and Anthopoulos previously indicated, though, that the ballclub must also pursue long-term profitability to support a higher payroll in relation to peer organizations. Maffei suggests that the outlook is bullish on the income side of the equation, calling SunTrust Park and its surrounding development a “highly successful” venture that he believes has “only good news ahead.”