The Braves have agreed to re-sign outfielder Nick Markakis to a one-year deal worth $4MM, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets. Atlanta held a $6MM option on Markakis with a $2MM buyout, and it seems they’ve handled that option in the exact same manner they handled an identical option over catcher Tyler Flowers. Atlanta bought out both options and re-signed the veterans to one-year deals, thus giving each player the full value of his $6MM option while only counting $4MM in salary toward the 2020 payroll.
It’s a somewhat odd accounting measure for a team that doesn’t figure to approach the luxury tax in 2020, though perhaps they’ve simply been given a clear budget for the 2020 payroll by Liberty Media and found an easy means of freeing up some funds for next season. Whatever the reasoning, the end result is that both veterans will be back with the team on affordable short-term deals for the 2020 campaign.
Markakis, 36 later this month, has been a fixture in the Braves’ lineup for the past five seasons but saw a reduced role in 2019. That’s likely to be the case in 2020, particularly given the veteran’s recent struggles against left-handed pitching. While Markakis’ .285/.356/.402 batting line on the season was a bit better than league average, nearly all of the damage he did came against right-handed pitching. In 113 plate appearances against lefties, Markakis batted just .245/.310/.343 — a far cry from the .298/.371/.446 he recorded in 356 plate appearances against righties.
Atlanta has right-handed-hitting Adam Duvall on hand to serve as a platoon partner for Markakis, should they choose to go that route. Ender Inciarte and Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, are currently in line to hold down the remainder of the outfield time. Of course, that plan could and arguably should change this winter. Inciarte is a clear trade candidate, and the Braves could certainly look to add an offensive upgrade either in center field or at one of the corners (with Acuna then sliding into center field. Top prospect Cristian Pache is looming in the upper minors, too, and could make up for any defensive value lost by moving Inciarte.
At the moment, the Braves have about $54MM committed to the 2020 payroll, though that factor doesn’t include a projected $28.4MM in arbitration raises, nor does it include Julio Teheran’s potential salary. The right-hander has a $12MM option or a $1MM buyout that must be decided upon today. If Teheran is picked up and the entire arb class is retained, the Atlanta payroll would sit around $109MM (including a current slate of pre-arbitration players to round out the roster). That would check in south of last season’s $115MM Opening Day payroll and further south of 2017’s record $122.5MM mark. Of course, Teheran isn’t a lock to be picked up, Inciarte (and/or others) could be traded, and theoretical non-tenders could also impact the team’s bottom line.
The Braves have plenty of needs to address this offseason. Beyond their fluid outfield situation, the Braves need a starting catcher and have multiple avenues by which they could look to explore their pitching staff. A massive payroll spike might not be in the offing, but general manager Alex Anthopoulos is no stranger to putting together creative trade packages even in the face of fiscal limitations.
Good. Markakis struggled in the postseason, but overall he was good during the season.
Of course it was good for you he tanked against the cardinals
He was barely above replacement level.
Above is better than below. At that price, he’s worth it.
Yes it’s worth it, but they should’ve upgraded.
4th place finish here they come!
Now once they pick up Teheran’s option, they will probably finish in last place.
Because Tehran makes them worse than the Marlins and/or Mets?
Bringing him back means 2/3rds of the rotation will once again be Faulty, Teheran, and a rookie pitcher. Add Fried to the mix and you are asking for a disaster. Couple all of that with an average bullpen, and major holes in multiple positions, and you have a team that will finish in the basement. We know the Braves will not spend money or trade their overrated prospects. I guarantee you the Mets and Phillies will improve.
Yep, and the Phillies were supposed to win the division in 2019. How’d that work out for them?
Ok, so even if the Mets and Phillies improve, it doesn’t mean anything. If we play like we did the last 2 seasons, we are going to be ok!
ThE mEtS aRe CoNtEnDeRs
That’s what everyone said last year too and they won the division by a land slide
I was just going to say that.. Everyone picked the Braves to regress and they did the complete opposite. They are naturally getting better as their prospects blossom.
If they can resign Donaldson and Soroka and Fried and Folty have decent years plus if they get anything good out of their young starting pitching prospects they should take 1st place again.
I think most fans wanted to buy him out, but this is sorta expected. Braves freaking love him and it’s not like he’s a bad player by any means. Does it suck not to get a young guy up and take over that position? Yup…. but it will come.
That said, the Braves trying to work the books to save a simple 4 mil is interesting? Hope this isn’t them getting Braves fans all excited for nothing like in the past.
So long as it’s legal, it’s just smart accounting. The $2m here and $2m for Flowers, that’s $4m that is freed up and if needed, can be saved for the trade deadline.
Every time they go over they borrow from the season after so I’m not buying it. Maybe they get a small percentage off in taxes or just want to give those guys a winter bonus. Or they just want to be able to say “they aren’t expensive. They were only 4 million each”
braves fan since 1968
ok but pls.dont bat him 5th
And make snitker actually platoon him
Maybe they’re preparing to spend some big money on some FA like Rendon, JD and/or Grandal. Flowers and Markakis have to be backup options for C and OF. Can’t imagine they’d be used as everyday starters at this point.
That’d be nice but I don’t see the Braves being players with any of the bigger named free agents.
Humm. Interesting. Really thought Nick Castellanos was on his way there.
Why would you think that? One of the Braves big concerns is good defense. But bringing back Markakis doesnt mean they wont do something in the outfield. Markakis is not such a desirable starter anymore but if he becomes a bench bat, he looks a lot better.
Liberty media continuing with that financial flexibility. Here comes another off-season of keeping underperforming vets and “professional hitters” that dont do squat in the playoffs. This is why we havent won a playoff series since 01. And will not for a very long time unfortunately.
You’ll be back when we start winning, fair weather fan. I’ve seen it a million times. People who run their mouth at the beginning of the season, have to eat their words by the end of the year.
this man is so underpaid its practically robbery
Vandals Took The Handles
Terrific ballplayer. A winner!
Some guy under another article is saying that Kole Calhoun is reasonable to teams in trade making $14m in 2020.
He was overpaid for years. Now he’s being paid about what he is worth. I think giving him a starting spot is actually overpaying for him.
His last four years he’s had a WAR of 5.6 combined. You would like your everyday starter to have a minimum WAR of 8 (2 each year)
So this seems really odd. Why not just pay him the $6 mil option instead of buying him out for $2 mil and paying him $4 mil….
because by doing it this way, the $2M buyout does not count against the salary cap for this year. Thus allowing $4M extra to pay a FA before penalties.
I’ve been curious about the accounting rules for some times. I understand that the Competitive Balance Tax is based on the average annual value of player contracts plus bonuses and benefits, such as healthcare and workers compensation, and that bonuses, because they are guaranteed, factor into the average annual values of salaries. So, Markakis’s and Flowers’s $2 miillion buyouts were already factored into the Braves’ Competitive Balance Tax payroll calculations for the seasons covered by those contracts. Had those options been picked up, would the CBT payrolls for 2019 been retroactively reduced to reflect the $2 million buyouts now being part of their 2020 salaries? Would new two-year AAVs for those players for 2019 been applied to those seasons?
And on top of the less luxury tax hit, they’re basically paying him a $2 signing bonus with a $4 million salary. Both sides win.
I wonder if it’s accounting for trade purposes. The Competitive Balance Tax really won’t even matter to the Braves as they won’t get near it, but perhaps it could matter to a late season trade partner..
If things go wrong and the Braves decide to trade some vets at the deadline, the remaining contract value at that point on both of these players will be even smaller, allow some other team that is ‘close’ to the competitive threshold to trade for them and take on less payroll. Sure, by that point we will be talking about something like $1.6 million left versus 2.4 million, but that could mean a better prospect or getting back a contract to help it fit that might look decent to Atlanta.
I just don’t see any other real reason for the Braves doing this. Unless they still have money left in this years books and can absorb it and save the number on the bottom line next year.
Small correction: Markakis’ slash was .285/.356/.420
2 dumb moves by the Braves
I’m guessing you could do better?
And snitker will continue to bat him 5th and play him 158 games. Screw this team.
BYE!! DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOUR BUTT ON THE WAY OUT, FAIR-WEATHER FAN.
HE’LL BE BACK WHEN WE START WINNING! I’ve seen it a million times.
I like this and the Flowers move. Solid platoon players that add veteran leadership. Also frees up $4m towards this years payroll. Might not seem like much but a corporately owned team has to look for savings wherever possible.
I agree. Put that $ towards a couple signings. Plus, doesn’t Bruce Sutter’s contract finally come off in the next year or two?
The only reason He played 116 games was because he got hurt. That’s not a reduced role. Gotta have that veteran presence.
I was hoping KC would sign him if Alex Gordon decides to hang it up. Always liked him and at $4M…unless he’s holding back a prospect it’s a great deal for Atlanta.
Braves are already trying to concede the East to the Nats!
Yep, you caught us. That’s been our plan for some time! You realize 162 games is a pretty long time, right? Didn’t people learn this last year? BRING OUT THIS YEARS FAIRWEATHER FANS!
I don’t think Braves fans are opposed to him coming back as much as they’re opposed to him coming back as a primary outfielder.
Atlanta has enough talent to stay competitive and possibly three-peat the division, but they aren’t winning championships with an outfield of Acuna-Inciarte-Markakis.
Markakis and Flowers indicates to fans that, at best, they’ll bring the 2019 band back together with the thinking that they only lost to St. Louis because Martin and Freeman were injured.
They lost because Freeman, Donaldson, Matkakis, Joyce, Keuchel, Teheran, and Folty sucked, choked , underperformed or had a mental meltdown.
Sit down and shut up! You’re no fan! Real fans support their team.
“It’s a somewhat odd accounting measure for a team that doesn’t figure to approach the luxury tax in 2020”
They surely don’t, but they surely could.
We know the Braves could pay some tax on their payroll because the Washington nationals do and the Nationals do not have a TV contract.
braves fan since 1968
show us facts washington paid
most of sherzer money is deferred
Nationals won their latest arbitration case against Baltimore. Plus, A LOT of their payroll has deferred money. More than all other teams combined. They’ve had to weather that TV contract storm for years now.
Just imagine if the Braves decided to agressively push their payroll close to the luxury tax limit. I know..there’s no way the Braves do that. Just let me fantasize for a minute.
There’s another obvious reason to depress the salary for accounting purposes on these guys:
Trade bait. If they do ok, and the braves aren’t looking good, a guy owed 2m on cbt to the acquiring team looks better than a guy owed 3m+.
Is it likely to matter? Not really. But it’s another tool in the chest so why not use it?
Declining 36 year old players with little power and diminishing attributes will not have that much trade value.
If you’re talking about Markakis, you’ve got it all wrong. He’s not declining and his attributes are not diminishing. Any team would be proud to have him, especially in the post-season, merely for his veteran presence. I have been pleased with his performance as a Brave. I thoroughly enjoy watching him play. He can drive runs in, and take them away with his spectacular defense.
If you’re not talking about him, sorry for the above.
braves fan since 1968
there is no salary cap in baseball
braves sign donaldson and chris martain and pick up tehran option sign wheeler or bumgarner
heard it here FIRST!!!
0 for 1 so far you’re doing great!
Now, let’s trade Ender, and put Pache in CF and Waters in LF.
I could see them targeting Willson Contreras. They need a good starting catcher for cheap?
The Braves have a top catching prospect named Williams Contreras, it’s Wilson Contreras brother. He’s probably about a year away.
There are several reasons which go beyond the obvious of the financial structuring. 1.) the Braves certainly has more revenue this year w the playoff run. Liberty might have wanted to book the option money this year against that revenue for accounting purposes. 2.) if either player becomes someone who get traded, tho it’s unlikely, the cap purposes of the money can help facilitate something like that. It’s not probable, but it’s smart to keep all options open. Why not?
Some of these comments make me understand why some animals eat their young.
Markakis is the sneakiest player ever to record 2,300 hits and 500 doubles. He can easily play 2-3 more years in a platoon role and finish a career with 2,700 hits. Kinda crazy.