The off-season has officially begun for the Royals and they have already made some decisions, declining the club options on Jeremy Guthrie, Alex Rios, and Jonny Gomes. The Royals have some big free agent decisions to make, with many fans hoping they bring back Alex Gordon and Ben Zobrist, and big holes to fill in left and right field, second base, and the starting rotation.
What are the Royals financial obligations heading into this off-season? Let's take a look at how the payroll looks now. Salaries are taken from Cot's Contracts. Arbitration estimates are taken from MLB Trade Rumors.
Of that $116 million in obligations, you can already subtract the salaries of Greg Holland, Louis Coleman, and Tim Collins, all of whom will likely be non-tendered. You can also subtract $6 million of Jason Vargas' salary that will be covered by insurance because he is expected to miss the entire season after Tommy John surgery. In all that would save about $19 million, putting financial obligations at around $97 million for next season.
It is also interesting to note the Royals have very few contract obligations beyond 2017. The entire core of the team will have been eligible for free agency by then, requiring Dayton to either pony up with some more long-term contracts, or refresh the roster with another wave of homegrown talent.
The Royals began this season with an Opening Day payroll of $113 million, the 16th-highest in baseball. Sam Mellinger writes that payroll could be up to $130 million, possibly even more. David Glass has said he is "obsessed with winning." With a huge increase in revenues coming in from record attendance figures, the Glass family should have the resources needed to fund this obsession. Will David Glass continue to increase payroll to defend the title?