With decisions on options and qualifying offers in the books, let’s take a look at each team’s payroll obligations to see where things stand. I will publish a second post listing every club’s future payroll obligations, which obviously have an important bearing on their ability to take on longer-term obligations.
The payroll chart and table that follow were compiled using the Cot’s Baseball Contracts database and the arbitration projections from MLBTR/Matt Swartz. Of course, teams can still trim from these obligations not just by trading players, but also by non-tendering those who are arb-eligible. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently posted his list of the most likely non-tender possibilities.
The chart provides useful context for each team’s offseason to come (figures are in $MMs). Of course, MLBTR has also produced more qualitative offseason outlooks for each team.
Here is the information in table form (all numbers in $MMs). I have also added a comparison to club’s 2014 Opening Day and franchise record payrolls for reference. (Red=currently exceeding; light green=currently short by $0-20MM; dark green=currently short by > $20MM.)
Jeff – This is great. Would you consider adding another couple columns? – 2014 payroll and then the variance between that and the 2015 number?
That would not be accurate though as no free agents have really signed yet.
Point would be to show how much a team currently has available assuming a flat year-over-year payroll.
If you look on the second chart on the column that says 2015 total and then look slightly to you right at the next column over that 2014 opening day that should give you what you’re looking for or something close to it.
That wasn’t originally there.
Yeah pretty sure that wasn’t there a couple hours ago.
I edited it based on the requests.
Obviously the past payroll numbers are just for reference and nothing should be implied about the teams’ plans going forward.
Thanks for the edit, Jeff. Much better!
I guess he updated. Maybe your comment motivated him to do so.
What is (or how is it determined) the luxury tax threshold?
By adding up the AAV of all contracts on the 40 man roster. Any amount spent over 189 MM dollars is taxed. The tax rate varies based on the number of consecutive years the team has exceeded the luxury tax limit.
First time: 17.5%
Second time: 30%
Third time: 40%
Fourth time and higher: 50%
I think you read my comment wrong. I asked about the luxury tax threshold, not the total payroll obligation. ???
Its 189MM, as I stated above. It is set by the CBA.
But why 189? why not 150 or 200 or 250?
Because they used number magic to determine that 189 was right for this CBA. It’ll likely go up for the next one due to every team getting more money to spend,etc.
Yah starting to get too much balance in payrolls….better make it higher. We don’t like a level playing field in baseball.
Only the first sentence of your previous comment had showed up when I replied. Apologies.
East Coast Bias
It goes up approximately 10m every 2-3 years. This is just a guess, but I think it will be 200m from 2017 onwards for a few years. Until then, it is 189m.
“By adding up the AAV of all contracts on the 40 man roster. ”
Know what’s something that I’ve questioned so many times and Still do not understand?
What you put is accurate, but what I question is let’s say the Yankees cut A-Rod. How does his salary ($27.5 mil?) count towards the Yankee team payroll if he is no longer on the 40 man?
Yes I’m aware they owe him the $, but I don’t understand how it would count towards the payroll/luxury tax?
When you say 17.5% – 50% , is that referring to the total payroll number? As in a $200m payroll that is over the limit 4th strait year is taxed $100m?? that seems too high/off to me, I’m guessing I’m not getting that accurate if anyone can correct or verify this?? P.S. PLEASE PITSBURGH, SPEND SOME MONEY THIS YEAR !!
Yankees are below the luxury tax line! Lets see how long that lasts.
About another 3 weeks
Maybe 3 hours (or 3 minutes)
This is excellent content.
This would be a lot more interesting/digestible if it were ordered by total, rather than team name.
Sortable would be nice too.
Or at least by city name instead of nickname.
Wow, both Chicago teams have a ton of money to spend.
yah good point, everyone talks about the cubs payroll flexibility white sox really has it to, I wouldn’t be shocked if the White Sox end up being the mystery team for scherzer.
the sox are absolutely not signing him. victor martinez I can see, Andrew miller I can see. but with sale there and rodon on the way, I doubt they sink most of their money into another SP.
Boras has already said he’s not selling Scherzer to GMs he’s selling him to owners. I’m not saying it’s the best use of resources, it’s just it wouldn’t shock me if Jerry Reinsdorf made a deal like that.
Granted this statement was made consistently last decade so it may be out of date. But Reinsdorf doesn’t believe in more than 4 years for FA pitchers. Danks/Sale were extensions.
I was just commenting that over the last 4 years the cardinals payrolls haven’t changed at all while revenues have vastly has increased. Cardinals are going to need to spend some money this offseason.
They’ve said they’re willing to take it up to $130MM in the coming years. Teams generally don’t announce that if they don’t plan to do it. Now the hard part, where to spend it that best improves the team without the contract becoming a disaster.
given the loss of Taveras, they need to be at 130 at least this year.
Nah. I don’t believe they need to add $30MM to the 2015 payroll to be competitive.
They just need to find some power, any power really.
Don’t you think Joey Bats would be the perfect fit for the Cardinals. Of course that would require the Jays falling out of contention so might have to wait for midseason.
Wow the Orioles are estimated to give out nearly $57 million in arb raises, more than their guaranteed payroll. That must be close to a record.
Just think what that number would have been had Chris Davis been good and Matt Wieters healthy.
I wish this were sorted by payroll total rather than alphabetically… Not veryhelpful in comparisons in this format.
I agree with other comments. This article would be helped immensely if the payrolls were ordered by number instead of alphabetically by team name. Not a complaint, just a suggestion.
A column with 2014 payroll data would be helpful. Also the number of players guaranteed and that have arb protection.
Crazy that the Dodgers already have $217MM locked up, and that is after losing Hanley.
The dodgers actually have over $240 million locked up when you throw in what they are paying for Wilson, Haren, Kemp etc. They haven’t figured out, like the Yankees finally did, that you can’t buy a championship.
So the Yankees can either go out and spend about $40 million/year on two top position players…
Or they can just sign the Houston Astros for about the same price.
So Red Sox are at 118 does that mean they have 71 million to spend in AAV before being taxed? Or are there other factors not being included in the 118 million number.
I think every team has fewer than 25 players in that 2015 total figure.
So if a team only has 12 guaranteed contracts and 5 arbitration players, they will have to have 8 more players getting payed at least the minimum. This example would raise their total figure by about $4-5 million.
I want to say player benefits are also used to compute payroll for payroll tax purposes, but I’ve never been able to find any info online about it.
Is around $11MM from what I have heard.
To all who asked, I made some of the requested changes/additions.
Vandals Took The Handles
Might consider also trying to factor in the next 2 out years. Fans would do well to see the long term commitments older teams have to existing players, and understand how that will affect their ability to give out the 4-6 year contracts all agents want for their clients at this point. There are a half-dozen Phillies coming in the not too distant future.
Separate article coming shortly.
So the Cubs could sign Lester/Martin adding approx 40 million per year and still have plenty of room for arbitration in the coming years for all the young players and flexibility in coming off-seasons.
It looks like the worst $ to win ratio has to go to the Phillies, and it doesn’t appear that this will get much better for them in 2015.
Nope, it was the Dodgers at 2,5 03,141 per win and the Phillies coming in 2nd at 2,466,476 Per.
Fascinating to see so many record payrolls in 2014. Excellent work Jeff.
Nice work Twins. Enjoy those empty seats next year.
Out in Left Field
Jeff, I think you included players that have been DFA’d already by several teams in the Arb Eligibles. The Padres for example DFA’d Eric Stults and without his projected $4+ million they are only at $67 million.
Man, those Dodgers spend a lot of coin.
Am I missing something on the linked to, offseason outlook list? I counted 27 teams. No Royals or Giants (and one other)?
@Jeff – from an accounting standpoint where does the deferred money for David Price (paid 10/31/14) and the deferred money to Balfour ($2MM 2015 I believe) fall in on the projections for Rays?
Weird to see 9 other clubs outspending the Sox.
This is crazy… Dodgers in for 5x the money the Astros are playing.