Parsing the payroll

What $92 million looks like. - Leon Halip

It's a record.

Happy Home Opener. (Man, it seems like there are a gazillion Opening Day-type events. Not complaining. I'll take it.)

Because we like to keep track of these things, here's the Royals Opening Day payroll. Warning: It's a record.

Player

$$$

James Shields

13,500,000

Alex Gordon

10,750,000

Billy Butler

8,500,000

Jeremy Guthrie

8,000,000

Jason Vargas

7,000,000

Luke Hochevar

5,210,000^^^^*

Omar Infante

5,000,000

Wade Davis

4,800,000

Greg Holland

4,675,000^

Eric Hosmer

3,600,000^

Bruce Chen

3,250,000

Alcides Escobar

3,000,000

Norichika Aoki

1,950,000

Salvador Perez

1,500,000

Aaron Crow

1,475,000^

Tim Collins

1,362,500^

Justin Maxwell

1,325,000^

Brett Hayes

630,000^^

Mike Moustakas

549,000

Lorenzo Cain

546,000

Louis Coleman

537,000*

Danny Valencia

532,500

Jarrod Dyson

530,000

Kelvin Herrera

522,500

Pedro Ciriaco

513,500

Francisley Bueno

504,500

Yordano Ventura

500,500

Total

90,809,000

Noel Arguelles

1,380,000

Emilio Bonifacio

573,771

Total

92,762,771

(The ^ indicates year of arbitration. The * indicates disabled list.)

I don't know about you, but I never thought I'd see a Royals payroll that high. As we've noted many times before, the budget is nice. It's how you spend the budget that could make it even better. There aren't as many clunkers on this payroll as before, so that's nice. Yes, the Hochevar contract was questionable even before he went down for the season with Tommy John surgery. Paying Emilio Bonifacio over a half million to vanquish National League pitching isn't the best thing. Paying Wade Davis that kind of cash to come out of the bullpen. Yada, yada, yada.

If we're going to note the bad, let's note the good. Despite showing an early elevated strikeout rate, I expect the Aoki contract to be a strong piece of business. The Perez deal was a steal when he signed it and it remains a steal today. And there's no sign of Jeff Francoeur or Yuniesky Betancourt.

Here's how the 2014 payroll compares to the others through the last decade:

Royalspayroll2014_medium

I like this chart because it shows the moment when the Royals went young and how that bill comes due in 2014. Hosmer, Moustakas and the rest of the Class of 2011 is either arbitration-eligible now or will be next year. That, along with some big contracts like James Shields coming off the books will make it interesting to see where the Royals go in 2015 and beyond.

But for now, it's the Home Opener. This is the team. This is the payroll.

Play ball.

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