Barring any major moves, the Rays opening day payroll will be approximately $65.1 million. That would be an increase of 58.4% over last year’s opening day payroll of $41.1 million. It would also be the second-highest payroll under Stuart Sternberg, behind only 2010 when the payroll was approximately $72.8 million.

Here’s the full breakdown, with notes below…

Notes on the roster and payroll…

  • The active roster (players in white) includes 28 players as three (BJ Upton, Robinson Chirinos, Sam Fuld) are on the DL. The entire 40-man roster includes 39 players as Matt Bush was recently removed.
  • Salaries for players in their first three seasons will make ~$480,000. However, the exact amounts may very slightly.
  • According to the new CBA, minor leaguers on the 40-man roster (players shaded in grey) will make $78,250. However, under the old CBA, players made more if they had been on the 40-man roster for more than one season or if they had been in the big leagues at all. It is not yet known if the same holds in the new CBA.


(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 $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.


  1. Michael says:

    I like baseball because it's the only sport where I can make more money than someone actually playing in the game

    • Beth says:

      Well, that's only because the equivalent of the minor leagues for football and basketball would be division 1 athletic programs -- where the athletes make $0.

  2. Mikey says:

    So we should therefore expect a 57.3% increase in attendance this year, using the strained logic of the excuse-makers from last year who blamed the drop in attendance from 2010 almost entirely in the drop in payroll. Should be an exciting year!


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