Hart sheds some light on Braves' 2016 payroll

Club won't be 'restricted,' but financial flexibility won't be as great as it will be in '17

Hart sheds some light on Braves' 2016 payroll

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As the Braves spent this past year finding a way to move Melvin Upton Jr.'s and Chris Johnson's hefty contracts, they were aiming to create as much financial flexibility as possible for the 2017 season.

They don't possess nearly as much flexibility as they attempt to construct their roster for the 2016 season. But Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said he and his staff members have been allotted sufficient funds to build a competitive Major League team and also further improve the Minor League system via the Draft and the international market.

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"For 2016, we feel we have enough to operate for where we are and what it is we want to do," Hart said. "We've had the ability to spend money. We're certainly not going to give away what our payroll number is. We certainly don't want clubs and agents and everybody else to know what is going on out there. But at the same point, we don't feel we're restricted."

When the Braves entered this offseason, they were expected to have $25-30 million to spend. They have spent approximately $9 million via the free-agent signings of A.J. Pierzynski, Bud Norris, Gordon Beckham and Jim Johnson. They also gained $6 million in flexibility when they traded Cameron Maybin.

But though the Braves have never revealed specific payroll numbers, it is believed they have approximately $13 million left to spend. Hart indicated that the depletion of the original projection might have been influenced by the club's decision to allot some of their funds toward the Draft and the international market, within which they are expected to be major players in July.

"When we look at our payroll, there is an overall bucket," Hart said. "We're going to have other things. We're going to have a number of early Draft picks. We traded for one [pick] and we'll have the [third overall] pick. We want to be big players internationally. We are not being restricted to do all the things it takes to build an organization."

With their remaining funds, the Braves are looking to add at least one more reliever and a right-handed hitter who can share the center-field position with Michael Bourn. Atlanta has also continued to discuss a multiyear deal with Tyler Flowers, who could share the catching position with Pierzynski.

"[The 2016 season] is going to be more challenging, because there are some things we might elect or not elect to do with the money we have," Hart said. "[The 2017 season] is a completely different story."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.