If the season started today, the Tampa Bay Rays 2014 payroll would be approximately $62.7 million.
This is based on raises already built into existing contracts, projected salaries for arbitration-eligible players (via MLBTradeRumors.com) and players in their first three seasons. At this point last year, the projected payroll was $61.4 million and the Rays started the 2013 season at $63.3 million.
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. We know the salaries that are in bold. The salaries not in bold are estimates but should at least be in the ballpark. However, for arbitration-eligible players, the margin of error increases as the estimate increases. For example, Jake McGee’s estimate will likely be more accurate than David Price’s estimate. That is because it is more difficult to find comparable arbitration cases from previous years for elite players.
- Like the roster projection, this assumes that the Rays do not re-sign any of their free agents.
- There are currently six open spots on the 40-man roster. This is the number of major leaguers the Rays can sign or trade for. If they want to add more than that, somebody will have to be removed from the roster.
- Prior to the Rule 5 draft, the Rays will have to decide if they want to add any players that have been in the minor leagues for 4+ years to the 40-man roster. This would cover most players drafted prior to 2010 and players that were at least 19 when drafted in 2010. The 2009 and 2010 drafts were rather weak for the Rays and the only player that I see that we can make a strong case for is Jacob Thompson, a right-handed pitcher that posted a 4.18 ERA in 26 starts at double-A this season.
- Players with a “0” under options cannot be sent to the minors without clearing waivers. By my count, Brandon Guyer and Josh Lueke are out of minor league options. So they will have to be removed from the 40-man roster if they fail to make the opening day roster as projected.
- If the Rays do want to free up some payroll, the best option is obviously David Price. However, the Rays can also trim the payroll significantly by trading Matt Joyce, Jeff Niemann, or Jeremy Hellickson, three players that may be expendable.
(1) 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.
(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 $500K in ’14. Minor leaguers on the 40-man for the first time make $81,500. We are not including signing bonuses or incentives.