EDIT: WITH THE FOLLOWING TWEET FROM ZACH BUCHANAN , THIS ARTICLE OBVIOUSLY NEEDED MAJOR REVISION.
So with that, the team has essentially backloaded the contract giving themselves much greater flexibility for 2020.
I Previously kept seeing 15 million being bandied about in the media as the number that Mike Hazen still had to spend. Had the 1st year of Bumgarner deal been 17M, (the avg annual) that would not have been the case. But now with this large backload, the team has approximately 17-18M left to spend.
Derek Hall said he expects next year’s payroll to be “right where it’s been”
That number for 2019 was 123.4 Million per Cots Baseball Contracts, however that spreadsheet does not include dollar figures for pre arb players that were called up during the season as fill ins. You can simply round up to 125M, as Nick Piecoro did in the article linked above. That is right in line with what I estimated things would turn out to be back in August, where I came up with 124M
This number, 125, is in fact the number that is being used as the baseline by most media members. It’s important to note that the headline of the Piecoro article linked stated the team was unlikely to spend a lot on one free agent this off season. Clearly Mr Hall was fibbing a bit there ;) So the notion that they will keep payroll right where it was last year (125M) could also be a deke on his part. In fact, from watching them over the years, they sometimes like to lower expectations and then spend a little more than they publicly stated they would so they can trumpet how ownership is willing to extend the budget. As long as they spend, I am happy.
Also, forget the notion of “opening day payroll”. That phrase and even accounting is widely used, but that’s not how the team looks at payroll budget. They look at the full year, and measure how much they have left to spend as the year goes on, and they look to add or subtract mid season.
I’ve re formatted my presentation here. Hopefully this will make things more clear. First off, we need to review once again the different categories of contracts.
- Dead Money: Players off the roster that the team is paying money to/for
- Signed, guaranteed contracts: Self explanatory
- Arbitration eligible: Players who have been tendered contracts. Amounts shown are estimates, (based on MLB Trade Rumors Estimates)
- Pre Arbitration players: That will range anywhere from 567K to 590K per player, depending on their service time. I’m using 580K as an average.
- Injury Replacements: The team will use upwards of 40 players on the season. Many of the players used will be players called up from the minors on minimum contracts. The accumulative total of that service time and salary usually adds up to around 3 or 4 “full seasons” worth of pre arb salary or full roster spots.
- A note about Deferrals: For consistency sake, I show the full amount of Bumgarner’s contract. In the past when there were deferrals, (such as Greinke’s) sites like Cots, and myself as well, showed the full amount pre deferrals. That is because the money must actually be funded at the time it’s due. Assuming the teams are funding an annuity or some other financial instrument, they still have the put up the money. The team’s typically save a bit by doing this, but I’m not including that in the calculations for consistency sake. Apples to apples. If you want to lop off 3M for Bumgarner’s deferrals, then you also have to lop off 10M from last year’s budget number (so 115 instead of 125) to account for Greinke’s deferrals. Hope that’s clear.
2020 Payroll Breakdown
Now lets take that and put it in the context of a 26 man roster. This is where things stand as of right now. Of course 3b and RF could change. But to anticipate how those changes might come about, we need to start with the correct context.
My number is now just just shy of 108M, and if the budget is to remain the same as last year’s 125M, then Hazen still has 17M left to spend. If Derek is playing possum again, and the real budget number is closer to 130M, then perhaps Hazen still has 22M to spend, over the FULL course of the season. In such a case, some of that would probably be reserved for deadline deals if they were in buy mode.
OFF ROSTER: Yasmany Tomas, the gift that keeps on giving. At least for one more year. Greinke money to Houston is public record. Option buyouts (Wilmer and TJ) typically placed in the next year’s bucket.
ROTATION: Bumgarner gets only 6M in 2020. Seattle pays 9M of Leake’s 15M, DBacks pay 6. Kelly’s money is guaranteed whether he’s in rotation or relieving. Robbie Ray’s number is the arb estimate of course. More on him later. Zac Gallen and Luke Weaver making pre arb salary. While obviously the team, won’t use 6 starters, I include both these players on the 26 man roster. I can’t imagine either being left off if healthy.
BULLPEN: Junior Guerra is the only one on a guaranteed contract. Archie Bradley, Andrew Chafin and Matt Andriese are all arbitration eligible. The remaining 3 spots I have filled by pre arb pitchers Kevin Ginkel, Yoan Lopez, and lefty Alex Young, who were all on the roster last year. If it’s not those three, and barring another free agent signing, it will be some other pre arb pitcher filling those spot, (perhaps an out of options reliever like Jimmie Sherfy, Silvino Bracho, or Stefan Crichton).
STARTING POSITION PLAYERS: Eduardo Escobar and Ketel Marte are on guaranteed contracts, and Jake Lamb, Nick Ahmed, and David Peralta are all arbitration eligible. I have to plug somebody into RF , and for now that is left handed bat Josh Rojas, who is pre arb.
BENCH: Stephen Vogt is the only bench player on a guaranteed contract. All the rest are pre arb players. There are no guarantees those 4 players shown, Tim Locastro, Ildemaro Vargas, Domingo Leyba, and Kevin Cron, will be the 4 players filling those slots. There could be another signing, or some other 40 man roster player, or yet to be added to 40 man player filling those spots. But for now, this is how you fill it out.
Here is the balance of the 40 man roster list for your consideration:
WHAT’S NEXT ?
Clearly Mike Hazen isn’t done yet. While he could possibly decide to just roll with a Josh Rojas, Tim Locastro platoon in RF, that seems unlikely. He now has the flexibility to make additional moves which he just said in the press conference he was definitely looking to do.
With at least 17M-22M left to work with suddenly the options are much wider. One has to wonder if Marcel Ozuna is not back on the radar. Nick Catellanos could be in play as well.
What happens next is anybody’s guess, but Mike Hazen is one smart cookie.