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.

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