Home > Personal > Atlanta Braves CEO Terry McGuirk discusses payroll (Can we Moneyball it this year?)

Atlanta Braves CEO Terry McGuirk discusses payroll (Can we Moneyball it this year?)

I don’t know what to make of this. I am generally a “Moneyball” fan but this level of commitment doesn’t seem like it will get the Atlanta Braves to where they need to go. It is interesting that this is half of what the Division winning Philadelphia team spent last year. What do you think? Can we “Moneyball” it this year?

The Atlanta Braves have set a player payroll budget of $94 million for this year, leaving them with several million dollars still to spend, the team’s chairman and CEO said.

Terry McGuirk, in a wide-ranging interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in his Turner Field office, also said team owner Liberty Media has expressed no intention of selling the club.

And on another significant note, McGuirk disclosed that the Braves are locked into 25-year local TV contracts that will prevent the franchise from cashing in on Major League Baseball’s trend toward dramatically higher telecast rights fees.

The issues of payroll, ownership and TV rights are integral to the business of the Braves or any major professional sports franchise. Here is more of what McGuirk had to say about those topics:

McGuirk defended the Braves’ payroll, which ranks near the middle among MLB teams and has drawn sharp criticism from some fans during an offseason that has seen the team make no major acquisitions.

He said the Braves have “a little over $90 million right now” committed toward 2012 salaries and will reach the previously undisclosed $94 million budget, up slightly from last year, with acquisitions before or during the season.

“We will be spending 94 this year,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys to look at in spring training. There are still decisions to be made.”

McGuirk said a $94 million payroll is the maximum amount supported by the Braves’ projected revenue, contending the team will operate at that level with “no profitability, no free cash flow.” The Braves ranked 15th in MLB in attendance last season, about the same as in payroll.

McGuirk acknowledged that a $94 million payroll “will look more like $84 million in actual players on the ground” because the team will pay $10 million toward pitcher Derek Lowe’s salary, even though Lowe — ineffective last season — was traded to the Cleveland Indians in October.

McGuirk made no apologies for the Braves’ payroll, which was barely half as large as NL East winner Philadelphia’s last season, or for their absence in recent years from competing for top-dollar free agents.

via Ledger-Enquirer.com | 01/29/2012 | Atlanta Braves CEO Terry McGuirk discusses payroll, ownership, TV deals.

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