If the season started today, the Tampa Bay Rays 2013 payroll would be approximately $61.4 million. This is based on raises already built into existing contracts, and projected salaries for arbitration-eligible players and players in their first three seasons.
At this point last year, the projected payroll was $52.1 million and the Rays started the season at $64.2 million. In 2010, the Rays had a payroll of $72.8 million, but Stuart Sternberg made it clear that they were stretching things that season. So expect the 2013 payroll to once again gall in the low $60s.
Here is the breakdown of the projected payroll. Notes on the table, and additional thoughts can be found below…
Some notes on the projection…
- Players in grey are players on the 40-man roster that are not projected to be on the opening day roster.
- This projection assumes that the Rays pick up the options on James Shields (yes), Fernando Rodney (yes), Jose Molina (probably), and Luke Scott (maybe), and do not re-sign any of their free agents (Carlos Pena, BJ Upton, Jeff Keppinger, Joel Peralta, Kyle Farnsworth, JP Howell).
- Salaries for players eligible for arbitration are VERY rough estimates at this point, but I am fairly confident that all are within $1 million at this point. The one exception is David Price. $7.5 million might be low. If he wins the Cy Young (as expected), that number could reach $10 million.
- Tim Beckham must be added to the 40-man roster or be subjected to the Rule 5 Draft. Due to weak draft classes in 2008 and 2009, he is the only player we are projecting to be added. Is there somebody you think should be protected (e.g. Kyle Lobstein)?
- This leaves five open spots on the 40-man roster. The Rays will likely add a first baseman and a reliever or two.
- There are some problems with the projection. By my count, Reid Brignac, Alex Torres, Ben Francisco, and Chris Gimenez are out of minor league options. So they must either be on the opening day roster or placed on waivers. If any do make the team, that will open up additional spots for free agents or potential trade acquisitions.
- If the Rays do want to free up some payroll, they can trade James Shields or choose not to offer arbitration to Ryan Roberts or Sean Rodriguez. They can also choose to not pick up Luke Scott’s option. If the Rays want Scott back, they may prefer him at a reduced rate. The problem is that his buyout is $1 million. So this would only benefit the Rays if they can re-sign him for less than $5 million, otherwise they aren’t saving money.
(2) 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.
(3) 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 $480K in ’12. Minor leaguers on the 40-man make $78,250. We are not including signing bonuses or incentives.
* Players with at least 3 years since their big league debut. These players must clear optional waivers in order to be demoted to the minors even if they have options remaining.