Well, we knew the payroll was going to go down. And now that the opening day roster is set, we know just how far the payroll has fallen.
Last year, the Rays opened the season with a $71.9 million payroll. This year, with several high-priced defections, the opening day payroll will be $41.9 million. That is a drop of 41.7% from a year ago. Of course, that is close to the $43.8 million opening day payroll in 2008, the year the Rays went to the World Series.
[Update: Marc Topkin tracked down the actual salaries for the players making close to league minimum]
Shaded players are not projected to be on 25-man roster. (1) Leslie Anderson is not on the 40-man roster, but has a contract that guarantees him $450K. That figure is not included in the total payroll.
(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. An option is only used if a player spends more than 20 days in the minors while on the 40-man roster. A player with more than 5 years experience can refuse a minor league assignment, so we list those players as having no options.
(3) Years remaining under control of franchise before free agency eligibility. A player can become a free agent after 6 years of Major League service time.
(4) First, second and third year players will have their salaries determined by the team, but will fall close to the major league minimum which is $414K in ’11. 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.