The Dodgers’ Future Payroll Obligations

Considering the contracts changing hands, the Dodgers and Red Sox completed the largest player transaction in baseball history earlier today. Los Angeles absorbed approximately a quarter-billion dollars while acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto from Boston, an amount that seemed unthinkable even 48 hours ago.

The Dodgers have been the most aggressive team in baseball when it comes to pursuing upgrades this year, thanks in large part to the deep pockets of the new Magic Johnson & Stan Kasten led ownership group. A number of trades, free agent signings, and contract extensions have locked the club into hundreds of millions of dollars of future payroll obligation that it didn't have even ten months ago. Take a look at our Transaction Tracker for a recap of all their moves over the last calendar season.

With a big assist from Cot's Baseball Contracts, here's an unofficial list of the Dodgers' future payroll commitments. This is guaranteed money (salaries and buyouts) only, so it does not include arbitration-eligible or pre-arbitration players. Those add up as well, especially when the reigning Cy Young Award winner is among them…

  • 2013 ($188.68MM) — Gonzalez ($21MM), Crawford ($20MM), Matt Kemp ($20MM), Beckett ($15.75MM), Hanley Ramirez ($15.5MM), Andre Ethier ($13.5MM), Ted Lilly ($12MM), Chad Billingsley ($11MM), Clayton Kershaw ($11MM), Manny Ramirez ($8.33MM), Juan Uribe ($7MM), Aaron Harang ($7MM), Chris Capuano ($6MM), Mark Ellis ($5.25MM), Matt Guerrier ($3.75MM), Jerry Hairston Jr. ($3.75MM), Andruw Jones ($3.2MM), Yasel Puig ($2MM), Punto ($1.5MM), Juan Rivera ($500K buyout), Mike MacDougal ($350K buyout), Todd Coffey ($300K buyout)
  • 2014 ($130.7MM) — Gonzalez ($21MM), Kemp ($21MM), Crawford ($20.25MM), Ramirez ($16MM), Beckett ($15.75MM), Ethier ($15.5M), Billingsley ($11MM), Jones ($3.2MM), Puig ($2MM), Harang ($2MM buyout), Uribe ($1MM deferred), Capuano ($1MM buyout), Ellis ($1MM buyout)
  • 2015 ($88MM) — Gonzalez ($21MM), Kemp ($21MM), Crawford ($20.5MM), Ethier ($18MM), Puig ($4.5MM), Billingsley ($3MM buyout)
  • 2016 ($84.75MM) — Kemp ($21.5MM), Gonzalez ($21MM), Crawford ($20.75MM), Ethier ($16MM), Puig ($5.5MM)
  • 2017 ($88.5MM) — Gonzalez ($21.5MM), Kemp ($21.5MM), Crawford ($21MM), Ethier ($18MM), Puig ($6.5MM)
  • 2018 ($53MM) — Gonzalez ($21.5MM), Kemp ($21.5MM), Puig ($7.5MM), Ethier ($2.5MM buyout)
  • 2019 ($21.5MM) — Kemp ($21.5MM)

Kershaw will be arbitration-eligible in 2014, his final season prior to free agency. Whether he receives a contract extension or goes through arbitration, his salary that season has the potential to be historic given his performance. Otherwise, the Dodgers seem all but guaranteed to exceed the $178MM luxury tax threshold next season, and there's a decent chance they'll be unable to get under the $189MM luxury tax threshold in 2014 as well. Getting under that same $189MM threshold from 2015-2017 will take some creativity. Dustin Parkes of Getting Blanked also looked at the financial fallout of the trade in-depth.

38 Responses to The Dodgers’ Future Payroll Obligations Leave a Reply

  1. JacobyWanKenobi 3 years ago

    “Ramirez’s two-year, $42 million contract with the Dodgers included three
    deferred $8.33 million payments due in 2011, 2012, and 2013″- Aaron Gleeman NBC sports.


  2. start_wearing_purple 3 years ago

    Wow. On those contracts along the Dodgers will have a payroll almost $70M higher than anything they’ve ever had before. Gotta say, this new ownership group has a pair of huevos grande.

    • BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

      So who remembers what Mark Cuban said about the Dodgers, before he was eliminated from the bidding? Anyone need a reminder?

  3. shnyde 3 years ago

    Dam how is Manny still on the Dodger payroll?

  4. txftw 3 years ago

    Gosh, they’re still paying Manny?

  5. diesel2410 3 years ago


  6. Devern Hansack 3 years ago

    Holy cow.

  7. They are also still paying Andruw Jones $3.2mil for 2013 & 2014. McCourt left his mark on team in more ways then one.

    • rainyperez 3 years ago

      Ummm the current GM of the Dodgers was the one that signed him?

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

        It was McCourt’s fault entirely however that those deferments are there.. Mccourt was broke, fighting with Jamie over nickels and it was the only way Colleti could pay Ramirez the 40m or so was with deferred payments..

        None of it was Colleti’s fault, just another problem with mccourt rearing it’s ugly head yet again.

        • BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

          Only difference of opinion here is that Franknjamie weren’t fighting over nickels, as the results clearly showed (unless you’re talking 30 billion nickels).

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

            Yeah Bluesky.. it was serious coinage being disputed.. No intention on my part to lessen it.

  8. Klaus D. 3 years ago

    Just put a lot of pressure on the Dodgers. The don’t even currently hold a playoff spot. they better win something within the next couple of years

    • BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

      You don’t need to remind any Dodger fan that we haven’t won it all since 1988. The pressure to do better has been there ever since, but without the raw materials to make it happen.

  9. Jose Villasano 3 years ago

    haha we still need to sign clayton kershaw long term

  10. Spit Ball 3 years ago

    They better be the best team in the National league and win at least one WS in the next five years. HUGE RISK.

    • YanksFanSince78 3 years ago

      With the expected attendance and tv contracts it’s not as much of a risk as you think. They will make money regardless. Now in terms of wins/losses then yes, they better win or they will be an embarrassment.

  11. Redsox7 3 years ago

    What is the luxury tax limit?

    • WasianCU 3 years ago

      The limit stays at $178 million through the 2013 season, then rises to $189 million for the three seasons after that

  12. Check your math again – $191.48 million including Puig and options for 14 active MLB players. $216 million if they pick up those 4 options.

  13. ugotrpk3113 3 years ago

    Day later – Still cannot believe this trade happened. What a long term gift for the Sox..

  14. So total payroll if they pick up those 4 options will be a minimum of $220 million. Add luxury tax at $21 million and they are over $240 million in 2013. Almost 5 times their $55 million TV contract for 2013.

    • Runtime 3 years ago

      Luckily, you don’t make 100% of your money from TV contracts.

    • dieharddodgerfan 3 years ago

      Well, 2013 is the last year of that contract.

      Its widely believed the Dodgers are going to start their own regional network (like the Yankees’ YES network) and that it will likely generate revenues of somewhere between $300 to $425 million A YEAR! That’s just initial estimates.

      That does not include ticket, parking or stadium-related revenues (ie. concessions, souvenirs), or the revenues each team gets from the online memberships to

      Bottom line: people better get used to $200+ million dollar payrolls by the Dodgers going forward because after next season, they will be printing money like the Yankees do off their YES network. The difference will likely be that the Steinbrenners seek to keep payroll below the luxury tax threshold while the Guggenheim Baseball Group likely won’t mind paying luxury tax.

      • BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

        I’ve always thought and often said here that the system favoring large market teams is bizarre and hurts the sport of baseball, but if it’s going to be bizarre I guess I can live with it being bizarre in favor of my team for a change.

      • Having a $195 million gap in TV revenue to payroll for 2013 is insane.

        Its not “widely believed” that they will get that much. Its widely believed that they will get a contract in the $3 billion over 15-17 year range or about $200 million per year. There is a possibility that they may get a deal of UP TO $4 billion but only if they extend to a 20 year length of contract. Still $200 million per year or about $100 million less than the Yankees.
        Considering that the Dodgers have $134 million tied up in 8 players for 2014 NOT including Kershaw, 2013 is not the last year of $200 million plus payroll and the Dodgers could be in big trouble financially.

        Those expenses also do not include revenue sharing, MLB non-payroll expenses and all of the minor league expenses.

        Worse yet they make the largest trade in team history and they can’t even fill the stadium today for a team that is in the hunt for the playoffs.

        Owners are spending more than is smart and the fans still won’t show up for the games.

        Dodgers new ownership could be in real trouble faster than McCourt.

  15. mrsjohnmiltonrocks 3 years ago

    Hmm…..they owe a lot of players a lot of money. I’m not a Dodger fan, but I’d point out that they received an awful lot for simply agreeing to take on the money. They gave up players that may end up having decent careers, but who knows at this point?

    The new owners have deep pockets and are spending that money to put a better product on the field. If you are a Dodger fan, this ought to make you happy. I wouldn’t spend a minute worrying about the financial situation-the owners are big boys and they are willingly taking on the financial risks.

    • BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

      You got it exactly. It’s kind of bewildering for those of us who’ve followed the Dodgers from the good times through this long drought of bad ownerships. It feels like we’ve been let out of a Turkish prison. We’re all rubbing our eyes and trying to get used to sunlight again. Free at last.

    • Hmmm People were saying the same thing about McCourt for first couple of seasons. We saw how that played out.

  16. Hoosierdaddy92 3 years ago

    In other news, the Dodgers have now acquired Marty McFly and Doc Brown and spent the rest of their money on building the DeLorean time machine to take them back to the year 2009, where all of Hanley, Victorino, AGonz, Crawford, Beckett, Joe Blanton, and even Juan Uribe, Ted Lilly, and Adam Kennedy had their career years.

    Kidding aside though, I legitimately believe Ned Colleti’s player valuation analysis must have some kind of mistaken bias toward the year 2009. Look at all of these players’ numbers closely that year, and you’ll see the trend too.

  17. David Malenke 3 years ago

    Who is Yasiel Puig and why is he being paid a major league contract!?

  18. YanksFanSince78 3 years ago

    yeah but the owner trusts his GM so still, I get his point.

  19. YanksFanSince78 3 years ago

    Why would they dump Harang or Capuano? They are both productive and relatively cheap at $13 mil combined. If anything, you keep those guys. The DOdgers are clearly in a win now situation. I doubt they care as much about lux tax as they do wins and being seen as owners willing to put a great product out. You don’t swing a trade and assume $260 mil in salary and then trade cheap and effective players to save nickels.

  20. Kershaw is in line for a FA contract of in the neighborhood of 7 years $185+ million if Dodgers let it go that far and he stays healthy through next season.

  21. thegrayrace 3 years ago

    Wouldn’t count on Lilly being healthy/reliable next season. On the off chance he is healthy, you just move Harang into the bullpen. Let him take the role Jeff Weaver had a few years back, long relief and spot starter. Between Lilly, Capuano and Billingsley there is a lot of potential for injury.

  22. mrsjohnmiltonrocks 3 years ago

    And…..Billingsley is on the DL with elbow pain.

    You can never have too much pitching.

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