We knew the Tampa Bay Rays’ payroll was going to be pulled back a little bit this season and now we have a better idea of just how much.

While there are still a few moves to be made, if the season started today, the Rays’ payroll would be approximately $69.3 million a drop of 15.6% from last year’s opening day payroll of $82.1 million. Last year’s payroll was a franchise record.

To put the Rays’ payroll in perspective, consider that the Los Angeles Dodgers have a projected payroll of $258.9 million.

And the Rays still have room to go lower. While they still need to add a second catcher, the Rays could also trade David DeJesus and his $5 million salary.

Here is the full breakdown.

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Salary information via Cot’s Contracts.

Salaries for players in their first three seasons are estimates as they will make close to the league minimum ($507,500) with the exact amount determined by the team.

For the purpose of this payroll estimate, we are including the $1.5 million received from the Oakland A’s during the Ben Zobrist trade, the $2 million in deferred salary for Grant Balfour, and the $2.75 million still owed to Jose Molina who is no longer with the team.

1. Based on the player’s current contract and service time statues, he would become a free agent following the season listed.

2. Players in the minor leagues and major leaguers with less than three years of service time have their salaries determined by the team. Players with more than three years of service time and less than six years of service time are arbitration eligible. If the two sides cannot agree on a salary, it will be determined by an arbitrator.

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18 Comments

  1. Scott Roth says:

    Our second- and third-highest paid players are Cabrera and Balfour? *ouch* Hopefully that is a good thing by season's end! Go Rays!

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  2. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    The absolute beauty of the Rays current financial situation is that they have one of the best pitching staffs and the highest paid starter is Cobb at $4MM. That is good enough to be the 83rd highest paid starter in the league! Ya think he's outplaying his money?
    The rest of the starters range from 93rd (Moore) -107th (Archer) in terms of salary.

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    • Rob says:

      Yeah, but that Balfour contract really stings.

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      • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

        I agree. Even if he magically finds the zone again this season it'll be hard to justify his percentage of the total payroll.

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        • FortMyersDave says:

          Hopefully Mr BallFour can find his control again and simply cut down on the passes he hands out. I doubt if we will ever see dominant closing from Ballfour ever again but perhaps he can be a serviceable set-up guy or a bridge from the starter to set-up type of pitcher; getting a key out to close out the 6th or 7th.... If he turns arsonist like he did last year the club should simply move on like they did with Heath Bell last year. On the bright side of the pen: Peralta is no longer around to add to the mess by handing out round trips to the opponents like candy canes at Christmas, the # of homers he gave out last year was staggering, only rivaled by Ballfour's lack of control in closing situations..... The fact that Joe M and Hickey stuck with this set-up/closing tandem for so long before finally going to Boxberger and McGee simply placed the rays so deep in a hole that Andy F was forced to trade Price in order to get top value for him as it looked like the Rays were simply had too many teams in front of them for the team to realistically contend for the final wildcard. Hopefully the Rays will not be as slow to react in 2015 if a key component to the team simply fails time and time again like Peralta/Ballfour.

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  3. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    Meanwhile DeJesus is pulling about 7% of total payroll and is an ancillary player at best- he should be packaged together with a prospect to get a legitimate catcher, or be traded for a prospect.

    Let's not even approach what percent of total payroll The Mad Aussie is sucking up this season ( hint: it's 10%).

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  4. Dave L says:

    Im not too worried about a few extra dollars being paid to Balfour if he can be a solid 7th inning guy even. As long as he is decent. Same Dejesus, He was hurt alot so its hard to gauge what a full healthy season would bring us.

    I will be interested to see how Corks 25 man vs righty vs lefty projected depth chart will look if we get a second catcher or roll with Casali, though I doubt thats the plan, at least I hope not. What does our bench look like with Jaso playing the Luke Scott LH DH role? I think if he doesn't catch he will play as much outfield and 1st base as Scott did. I was never a big fan of the DH as a position. I prefer by committee.

    I hope he can hit as a DH. Our last half dozen couldn't. At least he's young not over the hill like the rest of them. I'm not saying its a bad move. Its just when you have a DH in a slump its a dead roster spot because he can't help you in any other way. Although he is a decent base runner from what I remember.

    Anybody that can hit at slightly above league average would be a Godsend to this team. If he can do that and stay healthy then it can work out ok.

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    • Gus says:

      The dollars paid to Balfour only matter in the opportunity cost it was to keep other players (i.e. if the budget is the primary driver of the budget). But I agree if he can rebound to be helpful to the bullpen, then they have really nice chance to win.

      The best thing about this team is that there is honest competition for both at bats, innings and big league roster spots up and down the roster. That I believe will produce great results. Also, guys with no organizations with some kind of "clean slate" know they can come into spring training and make their way on to the roster.

      My biggest continuing complaint with Maddon from 2009-2014 was the fact that his teams would sleepwalk through late spring training, roster spots were in cement and then April would come around and the Rays were not ready, never getting off to good starts (even 2008's good start came 10-15 days after a bad couple of weeks).

      More than ever, Cash needs this team to get a good start, gain some confidence and shove it down MLB Network's throat for calling this Marlins 3.0 and yelling for the trade of Longoria every other day.

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      • OriginalTom says:

        The Rays were 47-26 in April for the years 2010-2012 so I do not think the sleep walk through late spring training makes much sense.

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        • Gus says:

          O-Tom: Maddon's April teams in the non-D-Ray era (2008-2014) played far worse than his teams the rest of the season:

          Aprils: 92-82 -- .529

          Rest of seasons: 535-426 -- .557

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          • Tom says:

            Sorry Gus but I think you are seeing something that is not there. If you include games they played in April their record is 94-82 .534 and ROS of 533-426 .556. That is a difference of about 2% which is random variance. I bet if you ran the team records for May, June, July, August, and September over 2008-2014 you would find months where the team record varied by more than 2%.

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          • OriginalTom says:

            Sorry, I meant if you include games they played in March their record was 94-82.

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    • OriginalTom says:

      Jaso has 428 PA as a DH and has put up a line of .242/.367/.374. That .367 OBP would be great for a lead off hitter. I do not see him plying much 1B unless Loney gets hurt as they are both left handed hitters and Loney is solid defensively.

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  5. Dave L says:

    If you look deeper into that Dodgers payroll, It is still $21M less than last years.

    And $43M of that 2015 $259M is paid to guys like Kemp and 4 others to just go away.

    So while the 2015 Rays pay $69 to guys to play baseball. the Dodgers pay 2/3 of that to guys on other teams. Further if you pin the luxury tax on those salaries it tightens the gap.

    Whats higher? The Rays payroll or the Ex-Dodgers payroll+ luxury tax?

    AF's mandate going forward was to continue to produce winning teams while getting under the cap going forward which is within reach in 2016.

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    • Gus says:

      If Dandy Andy spends his money in free agency and veteran extensions like he did in St. Petersburg, then the rest of the NL West should rejoice. Kershaw has covered a lot of sins for that franchise recently; if that elbow goes, Dandy Andy won't be long for LA.

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      • Dave L says:

        The only Rays mistakes that couldn't be remedied were Molina and Heath Bell really. The rest turned out to have value to other MLB teams.

        Take Escobar. His 2013 play certainly warranted a re-up for 2014. The Rays signed him for longer. He had a poor 2014 defensively and an OK one offensively. So what?

        We acquired Yunel in a trade for Derek Dietrich. What he up to?

        Some commenters last year thought his value and contract were so toxic they wanted to DFA him or let him be claimed on waivers. I repeatedly contended that he had value. Well lo and behold, although assigning Yunels value in the Zobrist trade is impossible since its multiple players. The Nats were glad to take that 'bad' contract and give up their best 29yo workhorse reliever in return.

        That killed the final weak argument that the A's took him off our hands as a condition to get Zobrist.

        Friedman left us with long term deals with Archer and Longo and a medium deals with MM and Loney.

        All the other deals had value to other teams and we moved them for younger cheaper talent.

        Whats the beef with how AF left the Rays?

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  6. rick says:

    And to think we could have had Buster Posey if wasn't for that Jim Beckham kid.

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