[Update 2] With the signing of Kyle Farnsworth ($3.0M in 2011), the projected payroll is now $35.4 million.

[Update] With the trade of Matt Garza, the Rays now have a projected payroll of just $33.3 million. That is quite a step down from $71.9 million a year ago. Of course there is still time left to spend some of the money saved. We’ll see if Andrew Friedman and Co. do pick up a bat and maybe a reliever or two to shore of the roster.

We knew the Rays would be cutting payroll in 2011, and after seeing several members of the 2010 roster sign with new teams and Jason Bartlett traded to the
Padres, we now have a better idea of what the roster and payroll will look like next season. In fact, at this point, the Rays have already cut their payroll in half. Below is the 40-man roster and payroll projection based on players currently in the organization.

Notes on the roster can be found after the table…

Notes on the 40-man projection…

  • A legend for the table can be found below.
  • There are currently 36 players on the 40-man roster. Players in white would

    be on the 25-man roster. Players in grey would be on the 40-man roster but are projected to start the season in the minors.
  • Salaries for players eligible for arbitration are based on salaries for comparable players in recent years.
  • Justin Ruggiano, Elliot Johnson and Adam Russell will be out of minor league options.
  • Stuart Sternberg said the 2011 payroll will be under $60M. As we can see the Rays are only committed to ~$38.1M. That is a $33.8 drop in payroll from last year.
  • The Rays still need to sign at least one bat and one reliever to fill the final two roster spots. With those additions, the payroll will be in the same neighborhood as the 2008 payroll ($43.8M).
  • If the Rays trade Matt Garza, as has been rumored, the projected payroll
    goes down to ~$33.0M.

(1) Based only on players currently within the organization.
(2) Once a player is added to the 40-man roster, the team can ‘option’ the player to the minors 3 times. A team cannot be charged with using more than one option in a given season even if a player is demoted to the minors several times that year. An option is not used if a player is added to the 40-man roster midseason unless he is sent back to the minors at some point.
(3) Years remaining under control of franchise before free agency eligibility.
(4) First, second and third year players will have their salaries determined by the team, but will fall close to the major league minimum ($414K). Minor leaguers on the 40-man for the first time make $35,000 and second-year players (or players with at least 1 day of major league experience) make twice that amount. We are not including signing bonuses or incentives



  1. phil says:

    $37.6M?? let’s see Grant Balfour at $3M = $40.6M and one more bat with $9.4M to spend to get to $50.0M…. They have money to spend let’s go!

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I want Balfour back also, but I have a feeling somebody with
      a protected first-round pick is going to offer him a 2-year deal.
      And I think a guy like Thome can be had for $5M, so I can’t see the
      payroll going over $45M at this point.

  2. Nathan says:

    Something’s wrong with arbitration if BJ Upton is expected to make $5M for the numbers he put up last year. His trending doesn’t show signs of getting back to 2007 numbers, so from a business sense, it seems better to trade his $5M to another team for a quality reliever, use that money on a quality bat, and live with an OF of Joyce, Zobrist, and Jennings.

    • Michael says:

      Upton is a good player, whether you like it or not.

    • Andy says:

      2007 BJ Upton would be worth upwards of 8 million in his final year of arbitration. Whether there is something wrong with arbitration is definitely up do debate. But based on whats already happened this offseason, I like our chances of replacing BJ’s production by resigining him through arbitration, than taking our chances in a market where Pena’s 2010 is worth 10 million per year.

    • derek says:

      A quality relivever?? lol we got at least one of those for an equally expensive, yet worse player in Bartlett. Ill take BJ’s trending numbers over some “quality reliever.” Almost every one of BJ’s stats went up in 2010, almost every one. Including ISO, walk%, HRs, and OBP So even if he struck out more in 2010. He still got on base at a better clip. All of those we significant improvements too. His ISO went from .133 to .187 Instead of looking at the two numbers that make him look bad. How about all the ones that make him look like a decent ball player, who shouldnt be traded for a reliever.

      • Will says:

        Great post man. So many people think Upton is bad when he has an above average glove, above average hitting (power, walks and doubles), and lots of stolen bases.

        • Lroy10 says:

          Thank you! I’m not the last person in BJs corner, good to know.

          • RivotHead says:

            Nathan has a very good point about the value of Mr.Upton.
            Although he did raise some offensive categories in 10 his clutch
            hits were minuscule. I’d trade him too IF the right deal came
            around. I’m not a basher by the way – would love to see BJ break
            out but he’ll always be a weak hitter with his current setup and
            multiple triggers.

  3. Charles says:

    Any idea how much money Thome is looking for? At anything like $5 million or less, he seems to fit into the budget and fills a big need.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I’ve talked to a few people and the consensus seems to be that Thome will probably get $5M, while Damon will be a little higher at about $7M.

      But you’re right, Thome seems to fill a bigger need, but Damon seems more like the type of player Friedman would

  4. John says:

    Marcus Thames, please.

  5. a.j. says:

    I think Damon is our guy…high average with 20+ HR and can still play the field for 40-50 games without hurting us. I love Thome though too…he’s just a class act! Why don’t we just give Balfour a 2/$7 Mil deal? Maybe even throw in an option! We gave Wheeler a 3 year deal a while back for much more…and Balfour has been much better! Then our pen has one big quality arm instead of a few question marks that could be. Also, why would Ruggiano get the nod over Anderson? I thought Anderson was definitely getting his shot from the get go?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Anderson gets that spot over Ruggiano, but a couple of things give Ruggy the edge.

      With Joyce in the OF and Dan Johnson at first base, I think Maddon needs Ruggiano’s right-handed bat a little more than another lefty. Also Ruggiano is out minor league options and the Rays didn’t use Anderson last September when another left handed bat on the bench could have helped down the stretch.

      We will certainly see Anderson at some point. And if the Rays pick up a free agent bat that hits right-handed, Ruggiano will be expendable and Anderson will get the call sooner.

  6. Gus says:

    Way to reward your fans. Cut the payroll in half!!!! after you draw 2.0M (selling out 3 playoff games to boot).

    At a conservative average ticket price of $20 x 2 Million =$40M. Plus $4-5m in concessions/parking. Plus revenue sharing for $25M. Plus Central Fund Payments of $35M. Plus Local TV-Radio money (even the Rays’ terrible deals throw off $5-8M I think).

    Am I the only fan who thinks this is just criminal. That Stu set the agenda — $70M is too much for me — and now he can cut the payroll with impunity.

    • derek says:

      So youre saying the rays made 105 million dollars in gross income last year? Im just wondering.

      • Will says:

        Haha. yeah, gross not net. He forgot to take away the player salaries and all the expenses.

        • Gus says:

          Look at the Deadspin documents and tell me where the net comes out to justify a $40M payroll at the MLB level. They have something like $11M as “interest expense” — which means they have moved their own debt payments “above the line”. They have minor league salaries (offset with revenue agreements) and draft pick signings and marketing costs and paying non-player salaries. But even if you give them generous allowances there, to have your entire payroll be financed by revenue sharing is criminal, no matter how they manipulate the numbers. They pay no rent. Via MLB revenue sharing and MLB properties, they have their entire payrolls covered if they are at $40M (and those national contracts are expected to go higher).

          • RivotHead says:

            C’mon if anybody believes the Deadspin documents AFTER
            Pittsburgh’s data was released………… well I have some Condo’s
            in Florida I’ll sell ya.

      • Gus says:

        Yes. That is what I am saying. The Rays own documents from 2008 show $19.7M coming from central fund, $8.4M from MLB Properties, $35.3M Revenue Sharing. Source:


        So that is $63M in 2008 dollars they got before they sold a ticket at the Trop. And why the Trop argument is such a red herring — attendance doesn’t move the meter that much in the big picture: The Rays take home $40M from ticket sales while a team with 3M attendance takes home $60M — BUT THAT IS OUTWEIGHED BY THE REVENUE SHARING THE RAYS GET THAT THEY WOULDN’T GET IF THEY WERE A HIGH REVENUE TEAM. Am I total idiot? Is the entire Tampa Bay and MLB media blind. Does anybody else think $40M is an apporpriate payroll for this franchise? I willing to see it differently, but the numbers lead me to a terrible conclusion about our ownership’s ability to tell the truth about the business-side.

        • SeanDubbs says:

          If you’re looking for a team with fewer payroll restrictions, poor player development, and shitty management then the Mets are probably a good fit for you.

          This is the way it must be done. It’s impossible for the Rays to be contenders every year with the limited cash flow that they have. Prepare for the future and adjust for the present. We have a ton of early draft picks that are going to cost big $$$. Player development, favorable trades, and diamond in the rough free agents are our only chance.

        • derek says:

          Those numbers were from 2008, can you tell me the payroll in 2008? Do you think the rays’ only expenses are the payrolls for the players? The scouts dont work for free, neither do the accounts that crunch the real numbers, not the bull…. ones deadspin released. Theres a lot more to the story than just what you read on the internet. Ask yourself how deadspin came across the same style financial docs for how many different teams? We are lead to believe these teams just print out documents with all their bottom line figures on them???? lol ok..

          • Gus says:

            The explanation at the time was that to determine the revenue sharing, all clubs submit these reports (and thus they would be made to look as bad as possible for the Rays so they can max their revenue sharing). They were leaked by someone in MLB to shame to the teams like the Pirates, Marlins and Rays who, in that person’s view, were gaming the system.

            I am just a fan, not a related party to anybody in ownership or with an interest to curry favor with the organization. I just can’t believe they can justify a $40M payroll when they had 3 home playoff dates (in 2008, they only had 8), a huge revenue sharing contribution plus the central fund plus approx. $40M in gate reciepts. Unless they are paying the scouting department $40M, these guys are pocketing the profits to a ridiculous extreme.

  7. a.j. says:

    If we’re looking for a righty bat and Damon is going to be around $7 mil, then why not go after Derek Lee? He’s going to be around $8 mil or so, and will be a great defensive player as well. Just a thought…

  8. phil says:

    how can Damon be worth $7M if no one wants him or at least wants to pay $7M?

    anyone know what team wants Damon?

  9. Corey says:

    Very nice work, but I have one question? Wouldn’t Rule 5 pick Caesar Cabral have to be on the 25-man roster for the entire 2011 season, or else offered back to the Red Sox (assuming no trade is worked out)?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Sorry, I meant to mention that. I have JP Howell still listed as being on the 25-man roster. Of course, he is going to start the season on the DL. As a lefty, Cabral would make sense to take that spot. The Rays could try to work out a trade to keep him if they do sign two more relievers, but it may be tricky with the Red Sox.

  10. a.j. says:

    Stu and Co. have been up front about decreasing the payroll this year. My guess is that they feel with our rotation, we can compete with anyone as long as they put together a nice support around it. I have always been a huge fan of Crawford, but reality is we didn’t win a title with him, or Pena for that matter. They overspent the last two years thinking it would get us the title, and it didn’t happen. Let’s not forget what put us in the playoff hunt the last 3 years…our starting rotation! And it’s still in tact, and still getting better! While I wish we had kept Crawford somehow, maybe losing him makes us gain something in the long run…time will tell! For now, I trust these businessmen that built our franchise so quickly that it’s made many of you forget how bad we sucked just 4 years ago!!! Keep doing your thing Stu!

  11. Sledge says:

    I still do not understand why Aneury Rodriguez was left unprotected for Rule 5 when it appears there will be slots available in the minors on the 40 man. Even if you figure 2-3 slots needed for others in the bullpen or a bat, there appears to have been room. What was the logic for letting him go? Was it simply that they’d seen enough to give up?

    • Sledge says:

      Another thought. Maybe this is an indication they want the flexibility to move Garza after all and needed the slots for prospects in return?

  12. a.j. says:

    Rodriguez wasn’t one of our top prospects. They left him unprotected because they felt he wasn’t ready for the majors yet, and if they really want him back, they’ll bring him back when he doesn’t make it. But let’s not act like we don’t have guys ready to take his spot.

  13. Miles says:

    A little late to this party and haven’t read all of the
    posts. Has anyone mentioned that the Rays are going to need tens of
    millions to sign all the 1st and compensatory draft picks they get
    this year? How many picks in the top 60 do the Rays project to

    • Cork Gaines says:

      They already have 5 and could have as many as 11. One way it could work is if the Rays decide ahead of time that they can only afford to sign (let’s say) 7 of the picks. The Rays would have a tremendous negotiating advantage over the draft picks. They could say “hey, we have X dollars for draft picks. We are offering you this amount. If you say no, we will just give it to this other guy.” in essence, there is no pressure to sign all of the picks, and the players can’t threaten to go to college.

      • Rob says:

        I understand that a team can get a pick in the following draft if they don’t sign their own #1 or #2 like Tampa Bay for 2009. Does this apply to the extra picks they will get in 2011 draft – if they aren’t signed?

  14. a.j. says:

    So, with so many picks that high, and already a strong farm system, we should be able to nab a big young bat that’s MLB ready in a deal! Let’s get Moustakas or Hosmer from KC, or Alvarez from Pittsburgh! If we have a rich system as it is, and going to have more on they way, then now seems like a great time to make a big time, young deal!

  15. Derek says:

    Im not going to waste my time going over those financial docs, because they are not legit. Give me a break down on how each an every dollar was spent, then we will talk. Bottom line figures are worthless. You can cry about how the owners are screwing the fans all you want, but the fact is youre still here. Talking about the Rays, going to the games, watching on TV. Wearing your Longoria Snuggie, if youre so upset about it, then leave. Ill be in Camden Yards several times next year no matter what.

  16. Jesus Leal says:

    I don’t like Thome too much, i prefer a guy like Vlad or
    Manny, a guy who can hit and have many RBIs, Thome is more like a
    homerun-need gay, for the 8th inning like a pinch hitter.

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