The 2008 40-man roster and payroll projection is based only players currently within the organization and will be updated when trades are consummated and free agents are signed.

We are now less than a month away from Spring Training and after the recent flurry of contracts signings with the Rays arbitration-eligible players, we now have a much better idea of what the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays roster will look like and what the opening day payroll will be. Today we take a look at the projected 40-man roster and payroll. Tomorrow we will update our 25-man roster projection.

Notes on the projections can be found after the roster…

A few notes on the 40-man roster and payroll projections…

  • The only salary that has the potential to be significantly different than that which we have listed is Mike DiFelice. We are assuming that the non-roster invitee will make the squad as the Rays backup catcher. DiFelice signed a minor league deal, but if he makes the roster it is unclear how much he would earn, but we can assume it would be in the $0.5-0.8 million range with plenty of incentives.
  • All of the first, second and third year players salaries are estimates but should be in the neighborhood. Therefore, barring any further free agent signings/trades, the opening day payroll will be within $500,000 of our prediction of $42 million.
  • That being said we can expect the Rays to sign a free agent left-handed relief pitcher. The salary for that player will be approximately $2 million, which would push the opening day payroll to approximately $44 million or about 57% greater than the 2007 opening day payroll .
  • We have not followed the off-season moves of the Marlins, Pirates and Nationals, but $44 million would rank ahead of all three of those team’s 2007 opening day payroll.
  • The next two teams on the payroll list, Arizona ($52 million) and Colorado ($54 million), both made the playoffs in 2007.


  1. Matt Bishoff says:

    Not sure when exactly you posted this Cork, but if the Shields rumors have come out since then. He is another player along with Defelice that could considerably alter the amount of the payroll. If he does indeed get signed to a longterm deal, I would expect a couple more million added to the grand total.

  2. Anonymous says:

    with shields and a free agent relief pitcher, the payroll is going to be very close $50 million. For some reason that seams like a huge psychological barrier.

  3. The Professor says:

    actually i wouldnt be surprised if the first year is less than a million...When Jeff Francis signed his deal, the first year of the new deal (his third season) was only for $0.5 million. He doesnt start making money until his "arbitration years"

  4. Devil Ray Guevara says:

    at least 2008 and possibly 2009 will be less than $1 million. there is no reason for the Rays to throw out more in the pre-arbitration years. the idea of a long-term deal is to guarantee money for the player (in case of injury) and to get the player at a lower amount than he would potentially get otherwise. they may give him a little bump this year and next but not much. the point of the deal is just to guarantee the arbitration and free agency years.

    2008 $0.5 million
    2009 $0.75 million
    2010 $3.0 million (first "arbitration" year)
    2011 $4.5 million
    2012 $6.5 million
    2013 $8.0 million team option (first "free agency" year)
    2014 $10 million team option

  5. Matt Bishoff says:

    ya, you make some good points, didn't really give it too much thought, just thought new contract and thought more money when looking at your chart....DRG looks pretty good on his projection

  6. The Professor says:

    i like DRGs numbers also, except I might think that the option years are $10 million and $12 million, but we are splitting hairs at this point. and the final numbers will also affect the buyout numbers. Shields might accept the lower numbers if the buyout numbers are bigger (~$3-4 million).

  7. Robert Rittner says:

    From what I am reading, the guaranteed money is $12 million and 4 years, including buyouts of the option years. That suggests that salary in the next two years will remain very low and still quite low by market value over the entire 4 years. After that the team will have an option whether to pay more-which if Shields remains effective would probably still be a bargain according to the market. The Rays seem to be excellent negotiators.


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