2021 Payroll Rankings

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  • #151048
    Avatargscottar
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    Very early look at the 2021 payroll rankings per Cot’s. This list will obviously change as more free agents sign and trades are made. We can update it a few more times before opening day.

    1. Dodgers $189.4
    2. Yankees $163.6
    3. Angels $161.2
    4. Padres $157.4
    5. Nationals $155.0
    6. Red Sox $154.4
    7. Astros $153.9
    8. Mets $146.1
    9. Giants $138.5
    10. Cubs $130.8
    11. Phillies $130.2
    12. Rockies $128.7
    13. Cardinals $126.8
    14. Braves $118.4
    15. Reds $117.4
    16. White Sox $113.5
    17. Dbacks $90.9
    18. Twins $90.5
    19. Royals $83.1
    20. Blue Jays $76.0
    21. Rangers $74.5
    22. Brewers $74.5
    23. A’s $69.8
    24. Indians $67.9
    25. Tigers $67.2
    26. Mariners $63.7
    27. Orioles $60.0
    28. Rays $52.7
    29. Marlins $52.3
    30. Pirates $44.7

    #151049
    Avatargscottar
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    And before I get pounced on about the disparity between the Dodgers and Cardinals remember my comparison was more about how talent was acquired than total payroll. Almost all of the Dodger payroll is from internal extensions and trades. I should also point out that they have $90M coming off the books after 2021 so they are actually in a very nimble position. The only long term contract they have is Betts.

    I would also point out that the MLBPA should argue more for a salary floor instead of worrying so much about getting rid of the salary cap.

    #151050
    jj-cf-stljj-cf-stl
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    In your opinion, what amount should a salary floor be per club for 2021?

    #151052
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    Noted that the Dodgers points have been registered again. Others have already explained why they see it differently. Focusing on the mix is somewhat interesting, but the total size of the pot matters far more in the end.

    In the above numbers, the Dodgers are a whopping 50% higher than the Cardinals. That is very significant no matter how it was generated. And just the other day, it was reported that they are interested in LeMahieu and maybe Bauer, too.

    That is why Mo said it is like they start every inning with a runner on first base. Great culture and deep pockets make an admirable combination.

    #151062
    stlcard25stlcard25
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    In your opinion, what amount should a salary floor be per club for 2021?

    The NFL set their cap at $198.2M and the minimum amount at $175M (88.2% of max). Thus the total minimum player pay would be $5.6B and the max would be about $6.3B. If we used the publicly estimated revenue data ($15.26B), that means players would get between 36.7%-41.6% of revenue.

    If MLB set theirs using the luxury tax of $210M threshold as a true cap, then the minimum would be $185.2M. This would have a dramatic effect on players’ share of the pie. Using 2019 data, player salaries are an estimated 37.7% of revenues. Under a true cap and floor similar to NFL, player salaries would be a minimum of 51.9% of revenues and up to 58.8% of revenues. This seems like a great idea for players but the owners would revolt. So what if we set the floor at half of the luxury threshold, or $105M for 2021? Again using 2019 data, we would see total payroll bumped by approximately $177M, and affecting eight teams (some of whom would not be affected this coming year, but it was the easiest data I had to work with). This means player payroll would be 39.4% of total revenue, which is right in the middle of the NFL high and low. This seems about right.

    So I’ll go with half of the luxury tax number, $105M. The Rays and Pirates may have to buy some vets they otherwise would not have been in on. Other penny pinchers would be free to keep doing what they wanted so long as they kept payroll over that threshold.

    #151064
    Avatarmudville
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    But is there a way to make a $105M floor work? The problem is that there are 14 teams with a cumulative total of $432.4M over that floor of $105M. One way to come up with that extra $432.4M would be to set a ceiling of $110M coupled with big time revenue sharing by every team. Essentially, it would probably require all of the MLB teams to throw all of their revenue into one big pot, and then divide it so that each team gets $105M to spend on payroll, and perhaps, another $50M for operating expenses. Then, the money that is left over after that would be sent back to the organizations that generated income above the $165M allocated to each team for payroll and operating expenses.

    Fat chance of this happening. But I would be fine with it if it did.

    #151066
    Avatargscottar
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    I have read the Bauer and Lemahieu reports also Brian but as you have pointed out many times, any team can be “lurking” or “in on” a player even if we don’t really know the level of seriousness. Agents have to fan the flames right? If the Dodgers did unexpectedly sign one of those players it would be because they know they have $90M coming off the books after this upcoming season. Personally I doubt if they sign either one.

    #151067
    Avatargscottar
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    As for a payroll minimum I would probably make it $75M for 2021 since so many teams are acting like they are on the verge of bankruptcy but then bump it up to $100M for 2022.

    #151071
    stlcard25stlcard25
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    Fat chance of this happening. But I would be fine with it if it did.

    Ownership would be screaming with delight with a cap set at barely over half the current luxury tax threshold. Players would receive 30.8% of revenues, far less than any other league and a big drop from current. Profits would be record highs yearly for most teams.

    I would think that it’s easy to make it work. You would probably have to bump the revenue sharing that’s already happening, but on some level, if your team can’t afford to pay half of what everyone else does, you should probably sell the team to someone who can.

    #151072
    Avatargscottar
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    I totally agree stl25. Raising the payroll floor does not necessitate changing the payroll ceiling. MLB already has revenue sharing but the lower tier teams are choosing not to reinvest in the team.

    #151074
    jj-cf-stljj-cf-stl
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    Would this floor be an end of year total like the 40man CB tax total? Or opening day where teams could sell off mlb talent to stock their farms during the season?

    #151075
    Avatargscottar
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    Good question. How does the NFL do it?

    #151076
    jj-cf-stljj-cf-stl
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    I don’t know but I’d prefer a opening day total, allowing non-contenders to sell off during season for long term gains in young players, knowing they would have to meet the floor next season.

    #151077
    Avatargscottar
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    That sounds correct to me. It would also encourage off season action. Some of these owners might be surprised at their season ticket sales if they would actually give their fans something to get excited about. I am looking at you Pittsburgh.

    #151078
    stlcard25stlcard25
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    The Pirates found out the impact of having a better team during their 2013-16 run. In 2010, they averaged 20K fans a game. By 2015 they were up to almost 31K. To be fair, their payroll was up over $100M at that time. By 2019, they were back to 18.3K fans per game.

    #151086
    Avatargscottar
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    Agreed. Pittsburgh is a very good sports town and will support a team trying to win. I have always liked that the Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins have pretty much had the same team colors, which promotes a sense of community.

    I suppose the Pirates being bad helps the Cards but it is kind of sad to see a proud franchise like this being treated like a minor league team.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by Avatargscottar.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by Avatargscottar.
    #151090
    Avatarmudville
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    If you lower the ceiling, it forces the top revenue teams to spend less money. Then, they have more money to add to the fund that gives money to the low revenue clubs so that they can afford to pay out salaries that meet the floor. Of course, those that are of the opinion that the owners are already making so much money that a ceiling is not needed to generate money for the fund, then that’s the end of it and there’s nothing more to talk about. Those people are only interested in listening to things that support their dogma that the owners are only interested in screwing as many people as they can.

    There are a lot of details that would have to be worked out, and it would take some years to fully install the floor and ceiling.

    #151092
    stlcard25stlcard25
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    If you lower the ceiling, it forces the top revenue teams to spend less money.

    No one needs to be “forced” to spend less money. It’s teams that collect revenue from other teams so that they can make more profit that are the issue. The idea is that MLB players are making less of the revenue than in other sports, so one easy way to bring that up is to get those teams to spend a few more bucks on their rosters (tanking is also an issue and should never, ever be incentivized). Using the Pirates as an example, they had $273M in revenues in 2019. One would imagine that it would be similar in 2021 if fans are back, but they’re projected for a $44.7M payroll. Do they really have that much other money going out to not be able to afford a higher payroll? It seems not.

    There is just no reason to give such an absurdly low maximum cap when revenues are as high as they are. A tweak of the current revenue sharing model would help, to be sure. But it would not need to be thrown right out.

    #151096
    Avatargscottar
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    That is how I see it too. Revenue sharing was designed so the lower tier teams would have enough funds for a more competitive payroll but they aren’t utilizing it that way.

    #151097
    Avatarmudville
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    Okay, then raise the floor and raise the ceiling. The objective is to spread the wealth around so that more players get more of the big bucks. Why not do that? It’s absurd that some players are getting $35M/yr and others are getting a cup of coffee and a plane ticket home. If you have a ceiling where teams cannot pay $35M to one player because of the cap, and if that then generates excess revenue that goes over to teams that need the additional revenue to reach the floor, then there are more wealthy players rather than just a handful superwealthy ones. I know that that’s a radical idea, but so what? If it could be made to work, a lot more players would be better off than they would be without such a system.

    #151112
    Avatargscottar
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    That is correct mud but the owners would never go with raising both the floor and the ceiling. I was just saying that if you had to choose I think raising the floor makes the most sense to justify the revenue sharing for the smaller market teams.

    #151113
    AvatarCardsFanInChiTown
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    I’m in full support of this. What about a reasonable floor, then added to that is money received for revenue sharing and National TV contracts? Money spent on the draft, international FA’s and International prospects should somehow be added to the figure. Which can and would fluctuate year to year. Bottom line, all group money should go directly into the team or farm system.

    #151140
    jj-cf-stljj-cf-stl
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    Percentage of 2020 opening day payroll currently (1-5-2021) committed to 2021:

    STL 75.1%
    CIN 74.3%
    PIT 73.9%
    MIL 72.7%
    CHC 69.0%

    #151142
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    Informative, but sobering data. Thank you for sharing.

    #151146
    jj-cf-stljj-cf-stl
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    Same % for the sixteen 2020 postseason teams:

    SDP 104.0%
    CHW 88.5%
    LAD 85.3%
    STL 75.1%
    ATL 74.9%
    CIN 74.3%
    OAK 73.1%
    TBR 72.7%
    MIL 72.7%
    HOU 71.9%
    MIA 71.5%
    MIN 70.9%
    CLE 70.7%
    CHC 69.0%
    TOR 67.7%
    NYY 65.5%

    The 2020 seasons largest team opening day payroll (NYY 249.8mil) currently ranks 28th at 65.5% committed to 2021. How’s that for dry powder?

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