Last year we knew the Rays payroll was going to go down. And with the departure of several high-priced free agents, along with the trade of Matt Garza, the payroll went from $71.9 million in 2010 to $41.1 million this past season, a drop of more than 40 percent.
Stuart Sternberg has not made any public declarations about this year’s payroll, but his recent comments on attendance suggest that the team won’t be in a hurry to add too much money to the 2012 payroll. However, based on the Rays projected payroll for 2012, they may not have a choice.
If the season started today, the Tampa Bay Rays payroll would be approximately $52.1 million. That is an increase of 27 percent over the 2011 season. This is based on raises already built into existing contracts, and projected salaries for arbitration-eligible players and players in their first three seasons.
Here is the breakdown of the projected payroll. Notes on the table, and additional thoughts can be found below…
Notes on the projected 40-man roster and payroll…
- Justin Ruggiano is the one player we are projecting to be removed from the 40-man roster and designated for assignment. There are a couple of other players that are also candidates (e.g. Dan Johnson, Elliot Johnson) should a roster spot be needed.
- If the Rays want to save money, they can certainly start at the top of the list. James Shields and BJ Upton have already been rumored to be on the move. Those two, if replaced by minor leaguers, would save the Rays apprximately $14.5 million next year. The Rays could save another $7 million by trading David Price. But we think the Rays will hold on to Price for at least another year.
- We are still awaiting verification, but based on our calculations, there are several key names that will be out of minor league options in 2012. This list includes John Jaso, Andy Sonnanstine, Elliot Johnson, and Jose Lobaton.
- Assuming Justin Ruggiano is removed from the 40-man roster, that leaves five open spots on the 40-man roster. These could be filled by minor leagues being protected from the Rule 5 draft, free agents, or players acquired via trade.
(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 $414,500 in ’12. 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.