MLB payroll details, thoughts and analysis.


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L.A. Update  

While checking my referral logs, I stumbled across this thread on a Dodgers message board. The post by kennerbuggy points out some questions about the Dodgers payroll that I've got up:
  • He mentions an "obvious error with Cabrera's" salary - judging from the information he's given, I'm assuming he meant Encarnacion. I hadn't been able to find a year-by-year breakdown of his contract, so I've included the one listed in the post.
  • He questions whether or not signing bonuses have been taken into account for either Shawn Green or Darren Dreifort - they have indeed. Unless I can find specific information about a signing bonus being pro-rated over the life of the contract, I assume it's payable in the first year. You don't see the actual signing bonus info for these players because it was pre-2004; I don't show pre-2004 information because a) it's not accurate unless it affected 2004 payroll, and b) I think it would clutter the team pages even more than they are now. If you are looking for pre-2004 info, Baseball Reference, USA Today, and this salary site all have great information. But rest assured, the signing bonuses are included in the average values used in the cap calculations. I'll add these questions to the FAQ as well.
  • He states that he believes the $2.5m buyout of Brian Jordan's contract should count against last year's payroll. I am aware that some teams do track the buyouts this way, but I'm almost sure that's not a universal statement. If there's someone out there who knows better - please let me know. For now, I'll stick with buyouts being listed in the payroll for the year they are "buying out".
  • He points out that I had missed that Nomo's option for 2004 had automatically triggered based on the number of IP in 2002-2003 - I've updated the payroll to reflect that. He also talks about a $1.5m increase that kicked in, but I can't find a source for that, so I'll leave it off for right now. If you've seen a source, send it along.
  • He notes that Gagne and Mota's contracts are not listed - this is correct; I won't list them until the arbitration cases have been settled one way or another. He also notes that I include list the pay for non-guaranteed contracts for players signed to minor league deals - I do this just so I can keep track of them until the Spring when rosters get sorted out. I know it's a bit misleading, but it usually is only a few million (if that) per team. Hopefully as I refine the team payroll pages, I can work around that kink.

Overall - great post! His last point is on target - if we take the new updated LA actual payroll for 2004, it's $84.1m - add in the minimum of $6.2m in arbitration cases, another minimum of $2.1m to fill out the 25-man, and $750k to fill out the 40-man, and we get a minimum payroll of about $93.5m for the Dodgers in 2004. Thanks for the information, kennybugger!

Mailbag Part II 

Diving back into the Inbox.....
  • Avkash, of The Raindrops, sent me the details of Eric Karros' new deal with the A's which he found here.
  • Steve Beil sent me some great Cubs information, including details of LaTroy Hawkins' contract, an all-star incentive that I had missed for Mark Prior (it kicked in last year and added $1.5m to his deal), and some birthdates.
  • Jeremy Heit of Jeremy Heit's Blog pointed me to this ESPN article, which had the details of Kaz Matsui's deal with the Mets.
  • Alex Ciepley wrote in asking about what the $800k still on the Cubs luxury tax payroll for 2004 was. It's actually a result of the $800k they added to the deal with the A's; I've added a section to the FAQ on cash considerations and how they affect luxury tax payrolls.
  • I received a number of Expos updates courtesy of Scot Hughes - he let me know about Rocky Biddle avoiding arbitration, some incentives that had kicked in for Jose Vidro this year, and reminded me that Joey Eischen's option for 2004 had vested with his 70 appearances last year. He also pointed out that my 40-man roster for Montreal was a bit out of date - that's probably true for a number of teams right now...hopefully that will settle down as we get into Spring Training.
  • Finnegan Calabro checked in with the specifics of Mark Bellhorn's deal with the Red Sox - thanks Finn!
  • Bryan Smith of Wait 'Til Next Year had a question about Moises Alou's contract being listed as "guaranteed" for the 2005 season, when it is actually a mutual option year. I've listed it this way on my site because the Basic Agreement treats both player option years and mutual option years as guaranteed for luxury tax purposes. See the FAQ for more details.
  • Jason Churchill had a question about why I list two sets of payrolls for each team - I've added some clarification to the FAQ.
  • Michael Laureano helped me out with some additional details on minor league deals signed by the Yanks.
  • And in the catch of the day, both Frisbetarian and Disorgdawg pointed out that I had the luxury tax rate listed incorrectly on the Yankees payroll page - I had them paying 22.5% in 2004, when in fact as two-time offenders, they'll be charged 30%. Similarly, they'll be getting hit with a 40% tax in 2005, not the 30% I originally had. Big mistake on my part - thanks for bringing it to my attention!

That almost does it for the mailbag - I got some extremely detailed payroll charts on for the Padres, Reds, and Cardinals which require some more in-depth analysis - but I will be getting to them within the week!

Catching Up 

Caught up on all of the payroll activity for the week - updates galore for the Athletics, Cubs, Dodgers, Expos, Marlins, Mets, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Rangers, Red Sox, Reds, Twins, Tigers, Yankees, and of course, the Payroll Leaderboard.

The Devil Rays and Tigers have signed a bunch of one-year deals in the past few days, but I don't have details on them yet - if anyone has them, please drop me a line.

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