2012 Royals Payroll -- More Committed than You Think, But Still Plenty to Go Around

A frequent recent comment -- one that Kevin Goldstein apparently mentioned first and subsequently repeated many times in the comments -- is that the Royals have zero financial commitments to their 2012 payroll.  That statement, however, is not quite accurate for a couple of reasons.  First, as mentioned elsewhere, the Royals owe about $2.5 million in 2012 on the major league contracts given to Noel Arguelles and Aaron Crow.  Second, a major league team is required to pay each of the 25 players on its active roster at least the major league minimum.  For 2011, the major league minimum will be about $415,000, and it goes up about $5,000 every year, so the 2012 minimum should be expected to be around $420,000.  As a result, for 2012, every major league payroll has a floor of approximately $10.5 million (25 players x $420,000 major league minimum).  Thus, even before considering anyone else who might be on the roster, the 2012 Royals already have approximately $13 million committed to payroll (or a little over $12 million if Arguelles and Crow play the entire year in the majors). 

Of course, the Royals will not field an entire roster of players making the major league minimum.  The Royals have eleven players currently on their roster who would be projected to be arbitration eligible after the 2011 season, including Billy Butler, Luke Hochevar, and Alex Gordon.  The team also will undoubtedly exercise its $6 million club option on Joakim Soria, barring a catastrophic injury or trade.  Adding these players into consideration, the Royals expected 2012 payroll increases significantly. 

Player / Estimated 2012 Salary

Butler $7.0 m (Arb 2)

Soria $6.0 m (club option)

Hochevar $4.0 m (Arb 2)

Gordon $3.0 m (Arb 3)

Tejeda $2.5 m (Arb 3)

M. Cabrera $2.0 m (Arb 3)

Pena $1.0 m (Arb 3)

Aviles $1.0 m (Arb 1)

Blanco $1.0 m (Arb 1)

Getz  $1.0 m (Arb 1)

Maier $1.0 m (Arb 1)

Chavez $1.0 m (Arb 1)

Arguelles $1.4 m (contract)

Crow $1.1 m (contract)

League minimum for 11 additional players $4.62 m

Total 2012 Estimated Payroll:  $37.62 million

Of course, this assumes no players go on the DL and that Arguelles and Crow play the entire year in the majors, so the actual payroll would be expected to be at least a few million dollars higher, even if some of the first year arbitration players like Maier or Chavez are no longer with the team by 2012. 

A payroll around $37 million is still relatively low -- it is about half of the Royals' estimated $75 million payroll in 2010, although according to reports, the 2011 payroll will drop into the $60 million range  Thus, the bad news is that the Royals expected 2012 payroll is not really close to zero. 

The good news, however, is that even with a lower payroll budget (which may go even lower if revenue drops due to lower attendance in 2011), an expected 2012 payroll around $37 million should leave the Royals with a fair amount of room to add higher salaried players through either free agency or trades.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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