Braves Plan To Trade Matt Carpenter

The Atlanta Braves are making plans to trade DH Matt Carpenter, according to reports. Atlanta recently acquired Carpenter in a trade with the San Diego Padres.


Braves' Motivation for the Trade

The Braves' decision to trade Matt Carpenter stems from the salary-motivated swap they made with the Padres. San Diego's primary goal in the trade was to offload a portion of Carpenter's $5.5MM salary.

To facilitate the trade, the Padres agreed to contribute $1.5MM. In return, the Braves took on $4MM in salary and luxury tax obligations. This trade allowed the Padres to save $4MM in cash and $4.5MM against the competitive balance tax.

Financial Details of the Trade

Carpenter's competitive balance tax (CBT) number was slightly higher for the Padres than it is for Atlanta. His two-year, $12MM deal with San Diego had a front-loaded structure, with $6.5MM paid this year. This resulted in a $6MM tax hit based on the contract's average annual value.

However, when a player is traded, the CBT calculation for the acquiring team is recalculated based on the remaining amount owed. In Carpenter's case, Atlanta is responsible for paying him $5.5MM for one year. As a second-year luxury tax payer at the second tier of penalization, the Braves will incur a 42% tax on the $4MM of Carpenter's salary they assumed. The trade will cost them around $5.68MM in total.

Atlanta's Approach to Underwater Contracts

The Braves' front office has taken on several underwater contracts as a strategy to bolster the talent at the bottom half of their roster. Marco Gonzales, Evan White, and Max Stassi were all acquired and then subsequently traded away. Now, it seems that Carpenter is next in line.

In order to find a taker for Carpenter, the Braves may have to cover a substantial portion of his salary, possibly even lowering it to the league minimum. Carpenter's performance in the previous season was lackluster, with a batting line of .176/.322/.319.