As the Royals play out the string of another lost season, a Royals fan's thoughts, as always, turn to the offseason. There will be tender/non-tender decisions to be made and the ever present possibility of trades and free agent signings. A crucial variable in these decisions will be the Royals MLB payroll commitments, possibilities and budget. I have no idea what kind of budget Moore will have to work with, but I've updated the Royals likely/possible MLB payroll for 2013. The numbers, along with various assumptions and variables are below the fold.
That is $54 million for 25 players, plus Aguelles and the Soria buyout. The above includes several assumptions and estimates, including:
- Soria's contract will be bought out. The organization has already indicated that they will do this. There has been some talk that they will renegotiate his contract to have a low base pay with performance incentives. While possible, I don't think this should be assumed, so I didn't include a guesstimate of that hypothetical contract above. But it is a possibility, and that would increase payroll commitments and decrease money available for free agents and trades.
- Hochevar, Paulino, Getz, Pena and Wood will be offered arbitration. Paulino is a no-brainer. Given Wood's very low cost, he should be a lock as well. Pena will be pretty cheap, but they could always bring in a gritty vet. I think Getz is likely, but who knows. Clearly they don't feel like entrusting the position to Giavotella. They could sign a free agent. They could roll the dice with Colon. I think they'll stick with Getz for at least half of one more season. I think they will keep Hochevar because there are just too many holes in the rotation, and because it wouldn't be easy to get a better SP for $5M. But it is possible they could just cut him loose. I think the arbitration estimates are rough but I think they are reasonable given their performance and comps.
- Aaron Crow gets a salary similar to his 2012 salary. Crow's guaranteed Major League contract expires this season, but of course he's still under team control. 2013 will be his last pre-arbitration season. But the CBA says that players under team control cannot receive less than 80% of what they made in the prior season (I thought this rule was only for arbitration, but the CBA has no such limitation.). So theoretically the Royals could give him as little as $1.28M. But I don't think they'll cut his salary. He might even get a small raise, as they do for other pre-arb players.
- Jason Bourgeois isn't arbitration eligible. Due to the amount of time he's spent in the minors this year, it appears that Bourgeois isn't going to be eligible for arbitration. My numbers could be off, however, in which case he'd make something like $800K, if the Royals tendered him. Regardless, I think the Royals will keep him, as a right handed complement to Jarrod Dyson.
- Some of the future arbitration year assignments are guesses. In this update, I didn't work to hard to try to figure out whether Hosmer, Moustakas, and/or Duffy would be Super Two's, and some of the other players are questionable as to when exactly they will hit arbitration. The above arb and pre-arb assignments for 2014 and beyond are roughly accurate but some will likely be wrong.
- Don't pay too close attention to all of the names of the players getting league minimum. I had to make some guesses as to who will be on the MLB roster next year, but for the league minimum players, it really doesn't make a difference. Whether a roster spot is taken up by Will Smith, Everett Teaford, Louis Coleman or Jeremy Jeffress is irrelevant to the payroll bottom line.
- The real 2013 payroll will be different from this. Setting aside the possibility of additions from free agency or trade, some factors will alter the payroll from the above. At least Paulino and Duffy will start the season on the DL and other pitchers will be on the roster in their place. There's also the possibility of midseason trade which relieves the Royals of part of a player's salary for the year. But I think the above numbers are a good baseline.
With a 2013 payroll of about $54 million, the Royals could certainly afford to sign a good starting pitcher, as long as Glass ok'd a payroll in the $70 million range. Even a payroll similar to this year's Opening Day total of $64 million would mean that there is about $10 million to spend on additions.