Gerry Fraley wrote about Mike Hampton in the Rocky Mountain News a few weeks ago. One notable statement:
"The Rockies will be free of a financial obligation once they pay the $6 million buyout on his option for 2009 - a sum that was prefunded so it won't impact Rockies finances."
In my Rockies Offseason Outlook, the $6MM was included when I said the team had $77.6MM committed before arbitration raises.
Since the buyout won't impact finances, the Rox actually have about $71.6MM committed before possible arbitration raises to Clint Barmes, Garrett Atkins, Willy Taveras, Jorge de la Rosa, Jason Grilli, and Cory Sullivan. So figure the Rockies will come in a bit under $80MM to keep their current players (aside from free agents).
Even going from this year's $68.6MM to $80MM in '09 would be a 16.6% increase in payroll. To add players, they'll have to go even higher or perhaps trade Atkins. The Rockies drew over 2.65MM fans this year, up from last year's 2.38MM.
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