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The Royals 2015 payroll situation

How do things add up?

Ed Zurga

It is mid-November and Dayton Moore has yet to make a move, surprising considered by this point in past seasons he had already acquired the likes of Mike Jacobs, Jonathan Sanchez, and Ervin Santana, and traded away David DeJesus. Dayton is a man of action!

But the Royals have been rumored to be possibly involved with big free agents like Jon Lester and Yasmany Tomas. I thought it would be prudent to look at the 2015 budget. First of all, how much money are the Royals willing to spend in 2015?

That perhaps was true last year, when the team did take on a franchise record $94 million payroll, but it certainly can't be true for 2015. Sam Mellinger writes:

The Royals made somewhere between $10 million and $14 million from playing host to eight playoff games, money that was not in the team’s budget before the season and does not include additional revenue the club can reasonably plan on making from its team store, concessions and ticket sales next year.

The Royals should also expect increased ticket sales next year, as well as additional revenue from the ever-expanding national television deal signed by Major League Baseball. Mellinger concludes.

That means the Royals should be able to play next year with a payroll over $100 million for the first time in franchise history.

Jeffrey Flanagan concurs in a recent column.

Kansas City is expected to increase payroll by $5 to $10 million, thus going over the $100 million mark in 2015.

I think its probably safe to say the Royals will probably aim for a payroll around $90-95 million, with the flexibility to go past $100 million to get the players they need (David Glass has never said "no"!). So let's take a look at how their payroll shapes up for 2015.

The Royals have eight free agents - James Shields, Billy Butler, Nori Aoki, Josh Willingham, Raul Ibanez, Luke Hochevar, Jason Frasor, and Scott Downs. Arbitration salary estimates are from MLB Trade Rumors.

Bruce Chen is also owed a $1 million buyout for his club option for 2015 that won't get picked up, although that might have been bought out this past season when he was let go.

The Royals can save about $4.5 million by non-tendering Aaron Crow, Tim Collins, and Jayson Nix, although its not entirely clear they will jettison Crow and Collins. The club can save some more money by trading one of Greg Holland or Wade Davis, as has been rumored, although the club enjoys having the bullpen as a source of strength.

But as things stand now, the team probably has about $10 million to find a replacement in the rotation, right-field, and designated hitter, with the flexibility to spend an additional $10 million or so for the right player. By non-tendering those aforementioned three players, and shipping Greg Holland away for prospects, the Royals could potentially have $33 million to play with this winter.

What would you do with that kind of money?