I was talking to a friend of mine about Andruw, and what a "good" salary would be for him next year.† We considered his recent "Mario Mendoza" performance, his agent (Satan-himself, Scott Boras), and the fact that last time he and his dad made the deal with the Braves without Boras, in order to stay with the Braves.† We got to talking about who got paid the most on the Braves.† It's Mike Hampton.† I remember the 3-way deal with the Rockies and the Marlins.† Are they still paying part of his contract, and if so, how much and how much longer?† With loss of his and Andruw's contract, we could sign anyone in the game (if you don't consider Colorado and Florida paying part of his contract).† ...In addition, we were wondering what we think the Braves WOULD pay to keep Andruw.† Would they even continue to plunk donw $14 mil?
Let's address Andruw first. Take that deal he signed with his Dad out of the equation since he has said he won't be doing that again. The Andruw then wanted to stay a Brave and was willing to give a discount to do so. The one now wants to stay a Braves but only if he gets the mega bucks. We have to assume that Boras is still going to be asking for a big contract but if he finishes anywhere below .240, he might get laughed at if he asks for six or so years at $18-20 million per year. Of course if he finishes strong, people will pay him based on that (ie. Miguel Tejada in '03 and Carlos Beltran in '04). I really don't think John Schuerholz ever had any intentions of re-signing him though. Tim Hudson and John Smoltz are due for quite hefty salary increases next year so the money would be hard to find. If Andruw only asked for $12 million per year over four or five years, which is very unlikely,† it would be hard to turn down but anything over that probably isn't going to happen. If they don't resign him the Braves will do one of two things. They could put it all into a starting pitcher or split it up between a starter and a second-tier centerfielder like Eric Byrnes or Mike Cameron. It isn't going to be enough to go out and get Carlos Zambrano though.
Now on to Hampton. It actually wasn't a three team trade. It was very much like the Langerhans situation this year. Colorado traded him to Florida and two days later Florida traded him to Atlanta. Florida was on the hook for a good amount of his salary but only until 2005. Next year and his $6 million buyout in '09 are all on the Braves. That being said, I have heard from a couple of people that there is a fund that the Braves have been putting money into throughout his tenure in Atlanta to even out his contract. It averages out to around $8 million a year so in '03 when the Braves only had to pay $2 million of his contract, they put another $6 million in this fund, meaning each year only $8 million came out of the payroll. Is it true? I don't know.
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Jonny B. writes,