The Royals will begin the 2017 season with an Opening Day payroll of $145 million, a six percent increase over last year’s payroll, and the 14th-highest payroll in baseball, according to the Associated Press. The Dodgers once again top the list, with a payroll over $225 million. The Royals' rival in the Central Division, the Tigers, are second at just under $200 million, followed by the Yankees, Giants, and Red Sox.
The Royals have the second-highest payroll in the division, ahead of the Indians, who are spending over $125 million this year. The Miami Marlins had the largest payroll increase at 60%, while the Padres, White Sox, and Yankees had the largest declines from last year. Overall, Major League payrolls are up 4.7%, and topped $4 billion for the first time.
Figures provided by Cot's Contracts.
The salary numbers above differ slightly from the AP numbers possibly due to deferments, signing bonuses, and other salary obligations. The payroll includes $8 million in guaranteed salary to Omar Infante, who was released last year. The payroll number also includes $3.4 million that is owed to the estate of Yordano Ventura, who passed away in January in a car crash. The Royals may have some of that salary compensated by life insurance, depending on whether or not he was drinking while driving, a conclusion that has not been made public.
Royals General Manager Dayton Moore warned at the beginning of last off-season that the payroll would have to go down, because the club was living beyond its means. Owner David Glass later refuted that characterization, leading some to believe there was dissension in the Royals front office over payroll. Late in the off-season, the club added free agent Brandon Moss, then added pitchers Jason Hammel and Travis Wood following the tragic death of Ventura.