Royals 2014 Payroll Estimator

High five! The 10-digit club. - Ed Zurga

An early look as the Royals Opening Day payroll takes shape.

Time to run some salary numbers to see how the Royals stack up less than two months from spring training. First, let's start with what we know. The guaranteed contracts.

Player

$$$

James Shields

13,500,000

Jeremy Guthrie

11,000,000

Alex Gordon

10,750,000

Billy Butler

8,500,000

Jason Vargas

7,000,000

Omar Infante

5,000,000

Wade Davis

4,800,000

Alcides Escobar

3,000,000

Norichika Aoki

1,950,000

Salvador Perez

1,500,000

Total

67,000,000

All numbers above are from Cot's.

A couple of things stand out above:

-- Guthrie is the second highest paid Royal? Umm, that doesn't quite inspire confidence that the team is being fiscally intelligent.
-- Perez at $1.5 million remains one of baseball's best bargains.
-- The Aoki contract looks like it has potential to likewise be a great bargain.

The Infante contract is interesting in that it's a little backloaded. He's due $5 million next summer. Then, it jumps.

2015 - $7.5 million
2016 - $7.75 million
2017 - $8 million
2018 - $10 million team option ($2 million buyout)

At a minimum, Infante is due $30.25 million. Which we knew shortly after the deal was announced. The salary breakdown came out late on Tuesday. I'm going to assume the option isn't picked up (or he's traded - either scenario seems more plausible to me than the Royals paying Infante $10 million in '18), so the AAV of his deal remains roughly $7.56 million.

This is the second consecutive winter Dayton Moore has structured a contract in this manner. Last year remember, Guthrie made $5 million. It's an interesting way to structure payroll when it comes to dealing with free agents. Convince a player to take a low initial year, backload the deal and then deal with the increases when they come. Guthrie takes Ervin Santana's place in the payroll structure while Vargas fills the Guthrie portion of the budget.

Now, to the arbitration eligibles. Each ^ next to a name represents the number of years that player has been eligible.

Luke Hochevar

5,000,000^^^^

Greg Holland

4,900,000^

Eric Hosmer

4,100,000^

Emilio Bonifacio

3,300,000^^^

Aaron Crow

1,900,000^

Justin Maxwell

1,200,000^

Tim Collins

1,000,000^

Brett Hayes

900,000^^

Total

22,300,000


The above numbers are estimates from MLB Trade Rumors.

That's 18 players who have a signed contract in hand or are arbitration eligible. The estimated total for those 18 is $89.2 million. That's kind of a big deal. Last year's Opening Day payroll was $81,871,725. A record amount, surpassing the 2010 payroll.

If the remaining seven players (including Mike Moustakas, Kelvin Herrera, Lorenzo Cain, Danny Duffy) earn, on average, $510,000, they will be due a total of $3,570,000. Then don't forget about Noel Arguelles. The Royals still owe him $1,380,000 for his *cough* services.

That brings my Royals estimated 2014 payroll to $94.15 million.

For a refresher, here's how past Opening Day payrolls have looked for the Royals:

Royals10yearpayroll_medium

Remember how Moore said he thought 2014 payroll would be "about the same?" I didn't put much stock in his comment at the time. I seem to remember him saying something similar at the end of 2012 and look at the graph above to see how accurate that statement was. My gut tells me Infante is the last big move of this winter. Sorry Erv fanboys (and girls), he's not coming back next year.

That pushes my estimate of total

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