Yesterday we saw that if the 2013 season started today, the payroll would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $61.4 million. That would be the fourth highest payroll in the eight seasons since Stuart Sternberg took over the Rays. And that’s without signing a single free agent.
Here is a look at the opening day payroll for the Rays in every year of their existence. For fun, we included the average payroll in Major League Baseball.
Payroll values are in millions…
When the Rays reached $72.8 million in 2010, it was clear that the Rays were uncomfortable at the level and that it would not happen very often under current conditions. And with attendance still at similar levels that means we should once again expect a payroll next season in the low $60s.
And that means it is less likely that Luke Scott will have his $6.0 million option picked up. And Ryan Roberts will likely not be offered arbitration (approx. $4.0 million).
The only other spot where the Rays can save significant money is by trading James Shields, who is set to make $10.3 million in 2013. But no matter how you shake that tree, the Rays are a better team with Shields than without.