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Royals 2014 Payroll Estimator

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

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

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.



James Shields


Jeremy Guthrie


Alex Gordon


Billy Butler


Jason Vargas


Omar Infante


Wade Davis


Alcides Escobar


Norichika Aoki


Salvador Perez




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


Greg Holland


Eric Hosmer


Emilio Bonifacio


Aaron Crow


Justin Maxwell


Tim Collins


Brett Hayes




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:


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