The Braves are planning to trade DH Matt Carpenter, report David O’Brien and Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic (X link). Atlanta acquired the left-handed hitter this evening in a salary-motivated swap with the Padres.
San Diego’s primary goal was offloading a portion of Carpenter’s $5.5MM salary. The Athletic’s Dennis Lin reported that the Padres were kicking in $1.5MM to facilitate the trade. The Braves took on $4MM in salary and luxury tax obligations. The Friars saved $4MM in cash and $4.5MM against the competitive balance tax.
Carpenter’s CBT number was marginally higher for the Padres than it is for Atlanta. His two-year, $12MM deal with San Diego was front loaded, as he collected $6.5MM this year. That came with a $6MM tax hit as the contract’s average annual value, but a traded player’s CBT calculation for an acquiring team is recalculated based on how much they’re still owed at the time of the trade — in this case, $5.5MM for one year.
The point of the trade for Atlanta was to essentially “purchase” the rights to hard-throwing depth reliever Ray Kerr, whom San Diego included in the deal. As a second-year luxury tax payor in the second tier of penalization, the Braves are paying a 42% tax on the $4MM of Carpenter’s salary they assumed. The trade will cost them around $5.68MM altogether. Atlanta’s competitive balance tax number sits around $267MM, as calculated by Roster Resource. The third tier of penalization kicks in at $277MM.
Atlanta’s front office has somewhat curiously taken on a handful of underwater contracts as a means of adding talent at the bottom half of the roster. They almost immediately traded Marco Gonzales and Evan White after bringing them in alongside Jarred Kelenic. Catcher Max Stassi, whose contract was included in the David Fletcher trade, was promptly flipped to the White Sox. Carpenter appears next in line.
As was the case with Gonzales and Stassi, the Braves might have to pay Carpenter’s salary all the way or near the league minimum to find a taker. The veteran is coming off a .176/.322/.319 showing.