The Royals fielded an Opening Day roster with a total payroll of $123 million, in unofficial numbers according to Cot’s Contracts. The total is 15% down from the franchise-record $145 million payroll the team assembled for Opening Day last year.
At the outset of the off-season, Dayton Moore had stated his intent to reduce payroll to the $110-120 million range, saying, “we’ve got flexibility in that $110 to $120 [million range]. But I don’t necessarily think it makes sense to be in that $120 if we don’t feel like we match up well with the other teams in the division.” Initially, the Royals were able to reduce payroll by finding inventive deals to shed part of the contractual obligations of Joakim Soria and Brandon Mooss. Moore later took advantage of a slow market and scooped up free agents Jon Jay, Lucas Duda, and Mike Moustakas at bargain prices.
Royals 2018 payroll
|Ian Kennedy||$16,000,000||$16,500,000||$16,500,000||Free Agent|
|Danny Duffy||$14,000,000||$15,250,000||$15,250,000||$15,250,000||Free Agent|
|Salvador Perez||$8,700,000||$11,200,000||$14,200,000||$14,200,000||Free Agent|
|Kelvin Herrera||$7,937,500||Free Agent|
|Jorge Soler||$4,666,667||$4,666,667||$4,666,667||Free Agent|
|Lucas Duda||$3,500,000||Free Agent|
|Jon Jay||$3,000,000||Free Agent|
|Brandon Maurer||$2,950,000||Arbitration||Free Agent|
|Alcides Escobar||$2,500,000||Free Agent|
|Drew Butera||$2,300,000||Free Agent|
|Nate Karns||$1,375,000||Arbitration||Arbitration||Free Agent|
|Justin Grimm||$1,250,000||Arbitration||Free Agent|
|Blaine Boyer||$1,000,000||Free Agent|
|Ryan Goins||$1,000,000||Arbitration||Arbitration||Free Agent|
Alex Gordon has a $23 million mutual option in 2020 that will almost certainly be declined, giving him a $4 million buyout that year. Jason Hammel has a $12 million mutual option for 2019 that gives him a $2 million buyout if declined, and Mike Moustakas has a $15 million mutual option for next year with a $1 million buyout. These salary figures do not include incentives.
The Boston Red Sox top the list of baseball’s biggest spenders, with a payroll of $223 million. The Yankees and Dodgers, known for being profligate spenders in the past, will be tenth and eleventh in payroll, respectively. Both teams shed salary obligations to get under the a luxury tax threshold that is more punitive under the new collective bargaining agreement, and to set up for what is expected to be a monster free agent class next off-season.
Overall, the spending around baseball has slowed due to a lack of action on the free agent market. Salaries rose just 1% overall, and teams spent a total of $1.98 billion on 65 multi-year contracts this winter, far less than the past two off-seasons. Ten teams are spending less than $100 million on payroll, with the Oakland Athletics and Chicago White Sox at the bottom with $71 million.