January 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm by Mark Smith under Atlanta Braves
Bill Baer, over at Crashburn Alley, took a look at the salary commitments to the 2013 Phillies payroll by age. As one might expect, it isn’t a positive look for that organization as over 80% of the budget is allotted to players 32 and older. For those uninitiated to aging curves, that’s a lot of money tied to players entering the steep decline phase of their careers, and with Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Michael Young, Carlos Ruiz, and Jonathan Papelbon all fitting into that category, the Phillies main players are basically all in that group, with the notable exception of Cole Hamels. This, of course, doesn’t mean that the Phillies are no longer a threat, but it made me wonder about what the Braves situation looked like.
Looking at the chart above, the ages taking up more than 10% of the payroll are 25, 28, 29, 33, and 37. That points to the Braves having a large part of their payroll in the theoretical prime of a player’s career, which is a very good thing for the team. The large chunks at 33 and 37 are Dan Uggla/Gerald Laird and Tim Hudson, and the only other largeish figure after 29 is 30, which belongs to Paul Maholm/Paul Janish.
Breaking it down into age brackets, we see much of the same thing. Over 50% of the budget is spent on players between the ages of 26-30. Again, these are the prime years, but they’re also traditionally the ages during which players enter arbitration and reach free-agency. Considering a lot of free-agents enter free-agency into their 30s, the Braves have done a nice job avoiding spending money on players on the wrong side of 30. The exceptions are Hudson (worth the money) and Uggla (worth the money right now but a possible whoopsie-daisy – most teams have one of those). Looking at all players under 30, they take up 71% of the payroll.