Teams That Could Take On Payroll This Summer

The ability to absorb a few million dollars at the trade deadline is a pretty powerful bargaining chip. Teams never mind shedding salary, but you won't find many clubs willing to take it on. Some teams always have the financial might to absorb a contract or two; others can take on payroll under the right circumstances and some are sitting tight no matter what.

To predict which teams will be able to take on payroll this trade deadline, MLBTR looked to recent history and the latest rumors. Here are the results:

  • Yankees – It's hard to imagine a team with an Opening Day payroll of $213MM letting a few more million stand between them and a deal this summer.
  • Cubs – Same goes for the Cubs, who opened the season with a $144MM payroll. It's the team's first summer under new ownership.
  • Red Sox – Not only are they big spenders ($168MM Opening Day payroll), they are aggressive at the deadline. Last year, the club added Victor Martinez, Alex Gonzalez and Casey Kotchman
  • Nationals – The Nats could have the financial might to take on Roy Oswalt's entire contract, if you believe one of the officials's Jayson Stark spoke to. They also have to budget for the bonus their number one pick will demand. We're talking many millions no matter what, but possible selection Bryce Harper could demand an eight-figure deal.
  • Dodgers – An official told Stark that he can imagine the Dodgers taking on $5MM or so. GM Ned Colletti said earlier this week that he could add payroll in the right deal, in spite of the McCourt divorce.
  • Angels – The Angels have some money, according to Stark's sources.
  • Giants – Adding Pat Burrell at the major league minimum wouldn't exactly constitute "buying," but the Giants operate under a relatively big budget.
  • Rays – They are expected to lower payroll in 2011, so they don't seem like a logical candidate to add salary, but they have been creative and aggressive at the deadline in recent years, discussing deals for the likes of Jason Bay and Victor Martinez.
  • Reds – The Reds have financial flexibility and a willingness to get creative, according to one of Ken Rosenthal's sources.
  • Phillies – They're staying in touch with Pedro Martinez, which presumably means they have at least a million or two to work with. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has said he'll be reluctant to give up prospects, but it's not hard to imagine the Phillies taking on payroll. 
  • Cardinals – The Cardinals were big spenders at last year's deadline, acquiring Mark DeRosa and then Matt Holliday. They may look for starters this year, which could cost them a few million, even though's Buster Olney expects a buyer's market.
  • Blue Jays – Team president Paul Beeston is "all about winning" in the words of GM Alex Anthopoulos (via the Toronto Star). It will be a balancing act between short-term needs and long-term goals, but the Jays could spend if they're in contention.
  • Some teams that don't appear on this list will likely become spenders this summer, but these are at least some of the clubs that could take on salary in the right deal.

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10 Comments on "Teams That Could Take On Payroll This Summer"

5 years 3 months ago

What about the Tigers? They could probably take on some payroll with those bad contracts coming off the books for next year

5 years 3 months ago

The Twins seem like an obvious oversight as they had Nathan’s contract insured.

5 years 3 months ago

Not to keep piling on but the Braves are sitting right around 84MM and it’s widely speculate that they can spend right around 90MM if the right deal came around. One of the main reasons the Braves didn’t offer more than they did to Damon was to keep some flexiblity at the deadline.

5 years 3 months ago

I could also see the A’s. Let’s assume Chavez’s contract is insured. Absurdly dumb if it isn’t.

The A’s quintessentially bought Adam Rosales by taking on and then releasing Willy Taveras. Last deadline, they ate salary to trade Holliday as well.

5 years 3 months ago

i actually like the idea of pat burrell in SF. if it doesn’t work out we still have until the deadline to get someone else. not to mention he would be really cheap.

5 years 3 months ago

What about the Reds? They should be able to open their wallet if they get to mid-summer and are only one or two players away from a real shot at the post season.

5 years 3 months ago

Bingo! The Reds have payroll room, and they have been playing terrific baseball. Scott Rolen-yes, that SCOTT ROLEN! has 11 home runs, 11 double, 31 RBI’s as of tonight. I’m calling it right here-Rolen is the NL comeback player of the year. Their weak links are the oldsters in the rotation and youngsters in the bullpen. Pick up some pitching. They’re in a difficult park for pitchers so it can only help.

Chris Solberg
5 years 3 months ago

I believe I remember a post on MLBTR where Braves GM Frank Wren (or someone) was defending why they hadn’t spent up to the $96 million they spent to last season. I agree with bbxxj, they should have a little room for the Cox (and Chipper?) retirement party.

5 years 3 months ago

Sorry Ben, but you couldn’t be more wrong as far as the Cubs taking on additional salary. They would have to move money to acquire salary; it would have to pretty much be a wash. The Ricketts are putting their money into the ballpark, they feel the payroll is already bloated and they are right.

5 years 3 months ago

Hey if the Wilpons had any cents…they would see that adding Lee would make the Mets a strong contender for the wild-card and the revenue from post-season play could potentially off-set the cost ( around 4.5 mil )

a rotation of santana/lee/pelfrey would be tough to contend with in the playoffs