If the season started today, the Tampa Bay Rays 2014 payroll would be approximately $75.3 million an increase of 19% over last year’s opening day payroll ($63.3 million).

More importantly, that would be the largest payroll in franchise history, surpassing the $72.8 million payroll in 2010. The second-highest payroll came in 2000 with the ill-advised “Hit Show” team. That year the opening day payroll was $64.4 million.

The 2014 payroll projection 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 $53.0 million.

Here is the breakdown of the projected payroll. Notes on the table 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 remaining free agents.
  • There are currently no open spots on the 40-man roster. If the Rays want to signor trade for any players with major league contracts, they will have to open spots on the 40-man roster by either trading away players or exposing them to waivers.
  • 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.
  • 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 or Jeremy Hellickson.

(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.



  1. Greg says:

    So we can't send Archer down without exposing him to waivers?

  2. Sarah says:

    Damn their starting five are young.

  3. Ken says:

    Don't we have to include the $4M in deferred 2013 salary of David Price in the 2014 salary total? This would push the 2014 salary total to over $79M

  4. Dave L says:

    Yes Sarah. That's why you can forget the Rays smokescreen. We will pick up an experienced SP. it's inevitable.

  5. J 2.0 says:

    I read that the Rays and Indians discussed a Carlos Santana and Danny Salazar for David Price deal. That would be something worth looking into.


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