Now that all the dust has settled with the Carlos Correa flip from SF Giants to the NY Cohens, the team from Queens now has an estimated 2023 payroll (per Cots) of $384MM. That is $151MM over the CBT threshold. That excess is more than 13 teams total payroll. The Cohen Tax is estimated to be $111.6MM. The tax by itself is greater than 7 teams’ total payroll:
- Miami – $106MM
- Arizona – $103MM
- Kansas City – $101MM
- Cincinnati – $87MM
- Baltimore – $85MM
- Pittsburgh – $77MM
- Oakland – $70MM
There are now three teams with payrolls north of the CBT Threshold: NYM, NYY MM($290MM), and San Diego ($267MM), with another 8 teams with payroll north of $200MM. As of this post, the Dodgers slide in at #8 highest payroll at $209MM.
Unfortunately for NYM (or maybe not so unfortunately), they now have 28 players with MLB contracts (including Carlos Correa and Omar Narvaez). They need to trade or release 2 players to make space for Correa and Narvaez. They need to be 2 from the expected 26 man roster. With the addition of Narvaez, NYM had 4 catchers on the 40 man, and 3 that are projected to the 26 man, with uber catcher prospect Francisco Álvarez perhaps ticketed back to AAA. The first shoe to drop was catcher James McCann being traded to Baltimore for cash and future considerations. I have a tough enough time projecting the Dodgers roster, so trying to figure out what Billy Eppler is going to do is not something I am going to worry about.
The absurd situation with NYM is that with only 12 players under contract for 2024, they are already at $279MM, which does not consider Pete Alonso or Jeff McNeil who will be on their final year of arbitration, which will absolutely take them north of $300MM with only 14 players.
NYY is not far behind with 8 players under contract for 2024, and a projected payroll of $197MM. San Diego? They have 9 players under contract at $171MM, not including Juan Soto’s final year of arbitration. If Machado opts out as expected, the Soto arbitration will come very close to Machado, so not much of an expected change They will need to replace or re-sign not only Machado, but also Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Josh Hader.
The Dodgers payroll still does not include Trevor Bauer, which if he is included at full salary, will put the Dodgers above the threshold for the 3rd consecutive year. Both NY teams will exceed the threshold for the 2nd consecutive season, while San Diego is exceeding the threshold for the 3rd consecutive season.
I know there are those out there who want Bauer to pitch for LAD if he is reinstated, and there are those who do not want him in a Dodger uniform ever again. With the addition of JDM, that brought the payroll to $209MM. Is it possible that Dodgers have had discussions with Bauer’s agent that could lead the Dodgers to believe that Bauer will opt out and collect $15MM? I am sure that was the original plan, but then we all know what happened. With the money being passed around for starting pitching, Bauer has to believe that he can get more than $17MM on a one year deal. Bauer has no problem betting on himself. Will he? First things first. The arbitration decision needs to be published.
The current hot mess team is Boston. They lost Xander Bogaerts when their reported $170MM offer was more than $100MM less than for what he signed. That is interesting on two fronts. First Boston totally misunderstood the market for Bogaerts, and second, SD overpaid for him.
Per most baseball pundits, Boston way overpaid for Masataka Yoshida (5 years $90MM). 2 years and $32MM for KJ seems a bit steep as well. But now they have a dilemma. What to do with Rafael Devers. They are reportedly “galaxies apart”, and that Devers is expected to not continue to negotiate and wait for FA. Boston has lost both Mookie and Bogie, and all they have to show for that loss is Alex Verdugo, Connor Wong, and a 2023 draft pick after the 4th round. With their current roster, they are projected for last place in the AL East.
Boston has 1 SP with more than 80 IP in 2022. They need a big bounceback from both Chris Sale and James Paxton. Trevor Story is now the SS, Christian Arroyo at 2B, Kiké Hernández in CF, Reese McGuire at catcher, and former top prospect Triston Casas at 1B. No depth at pitcher or position player. It seems very unlikely that Boston can put together a roster that will push Baltimore for 4th, much less NYY for 1st.
So do they trade Devers and really catch the wrath of Boston fans, or keep him and give him a QO after next year? Devers is a DH playing 3B (poorly). But his bat his special. It makes too much sense for Boston to trade Devers. But do you trust Chaim Bloom to read the market properly for Devers?
There may be a lot of Dodger fans who are laughing at the Correa situation. Actually this is probably a positive for San Francisco. They have $58MM under the threshold and do not have a 13 year commitment. And while there are no FA that can command huge dollars, they are in a position to make a trade for an elite player and to assume a very bad contract. Could SF put together a package for Rafael Devers and pick up Chris Sale’s contract? I have no idea if Boston is looking to trade Sale, as that would be a sure sign of giving up, and Boston fans will not stand for that.
San Francisco will almost certainly not stand still between now and Spring Training. As they are currently configured, they have not improved on an 81-81 record from 2022.
According to some, owners like Cohen are good for baseball. My gut says the opposite but no matter the world events, money flows in the entertainment industry. Peoples just gots to have them their entertainment no matter what it costs.
The question I have is it will it work. And then one has to define what is meant by work. Will it entertain? Yeah, probably. Is the goal a Championship? History shows the highest payrolls guarantee nothing in that respect.
Cohen has made his money as a hedge fund manager. Much could be written about that concept, not here, not now. His net worth is estimated at $13 billion. He’s the richest MLB owner and he’s acting like it. Good for him and good for Mets fans. I guess. They will now do what Yankee and Dodgers fans have done for years and that is pay for most of it while they wait around year after year for a World Championship. Maybe it will work better for them than it has for the Yankees and Dodgers fans. Obviously I hope not, and clearly it wouldn’t be wise to bet on it.
A bunch of long term contracts means there will be a bunch of years where they exceed the CBT and the non-money penalties will hurt more than the money penalties. If the Mets don’t win a championship but finish with a top 5 record, they will also draft late in each round. It will be hard to trade an aging player making huge salaries for a lot more years.
The Correa fiasco will make more teams not want to offer contracts to Boras clients.
But, the Mets will be top shelf NY entertainment, the cash will flow, and, as Bear points out, the franchise value will soar. Ain’t it grand?
Not sure the cash flow will soar, but that’s the problem.
No. That’s the question.
It probably isn’t “fair” that a team can outspend a working business model. But should we care if that market isn’t a fair market?
I tend to say, No.
Good stuff Jefe! What I think about Cohen does not really matter. He is making his franchise much more valuable than it was when he bought it. Same with Guggenheim. The Dodgers are considered to be worth more than 4 billion now. So if they decided to sell, that would probably be the starting point. Like many have said, loading up with All-Stars guarantees you nothing. The Yankees won their 27th title in 2009 and have not been back to the World Series since. That 13-year stretch matches the longest stretch they had gone without going to the Series. They have lost in the ALCS 5 times in that span.
Jeter Downs has a new home. The Washington Nationals claimed Downs after he was released by Boston.
Reds signed Wil Myers and have now DFA’D Mike Moustakas. That is a $22MM hit for Cincinnati. $18MM salary and $4MM buyout for 2024 club option. I cannot see another team picking him up, so he will be released just as Eric Hosmer was. I am not advocating or predicting, but I would not be surprised to see the local kid offered a MiLB deal by LAD with a ST invite like Jason Heyward.
Then again, maybe Moose and Hosmer go back to KC for a reunion. I can also see Hosmer in Miami. They are looking for a LH bat and he is from Miami. San Diego will be paying his salary so the price is right for Miami.
With these long contracts, we are going to see more of these in the future.
Looks like the Mets are trying to move Escobar, and the Dodgers are one of the teams interested,
I have always liked Escobar, but at $10MM AAV, I am not sure how sincere the interest is. He also has a $9MM club option for 2024. His fWAR value almost always justifies the contract. Depends on the prospect price. It would have to be non 40 man prospects for NYM. He would also take away 3B time from Vargas.
With JDM, there are just too many obstacles.
Between his salary, his last two year’s defensive stats and his taking away from Vargas’ playing time, I’m going to vote “no thank you”.
On the other hand, the more I think about McCarthy from the D’backs, the more I like the idea. He doesn’t strike out a ton, can play centerfield, can steal bases and would cost less in trade than Reynolds (who admittedly has a much longer success history).
I’d also consider Alek Thomas who is younger, had less success last year but has done a bit better in the minors and can also play centerfield.
I expect the D’backs to trade one of them since they have extra outfielders. Question is what do they need and who will pay the price. I’m guessing it won’t be AF.
Or, we could go in another direction.
With the signing of Correa, the Mets really don’t need to keep their #2 prospect Brett Baty, whom Keith Law considers a future 5 WAR player.
He’s a third baseman. Not sure what it would take to get him, but that would allow us to move Vargas to left and have some strong young hitters in the lineup for the next few years.
I’d offer them Busch and Ferguson but I’m not sure that would do it.
Would even consider Miller straight up. After all, a 5 WAR player ain’t cheese.
Waiting for you to weigh in Jeff, since I don’t know what kind of fielder Baty is. I was hoping that he’s a good fielder, otherwise I’m not certain we need to move Vargas off third base.
Is there a difference between a 5 tool player and a 5 star player? Asking for a friend.
Speaking of 5 star players, AZ does not have a catcher in their top prospects list and they don’t have much on their active roster They do have a lot of young outfielders. Is Corbin Carroll for Cartaya and Busch a conversation starter?
The simulator thinks so.
That would be an interesting deal. I would not say no. But it is also one that neither team will probably do because of the fear of retribution from a team in the same division. It is not like trading never has beens or never are going to bes. But these are the risks that might be worth taking.
It is amazing how close both Baty’s and Vargas’ careers have mirrored each other. The MiLB careers and MLB careers are extremely close, both offensively and defensively. Both players have recently been playing more LF because of their questionable 3B play. Now that Correa will be playing 3B for NYM, the plans are to move Baty to LF full time to take advantage of his bat. It should be interesting to follow their respective 2023 seasons.
Baty is 3 days older than Vargas.
I wouldn’t mind having both Baty and Vargas, but it might involve passing a new rule which allows multiple DH’s in every lineup.
News Flash: Bauer’s suspension has been reduced to 194 games (which he has already served). He is reinstated immediately.
I suggest you refer that question to Mr. Friedman.
1) They release him
2) They trade him
3) They keep him
But first they have to wait for him to opt in or opt out (he’ll do the former).
I’m sure the front office has drawn up contingency plans but a lot of those might involve cooperation from other parties.
My money is and has always been on the release and that he’s never played for the Dodgers again. But obviously I’m not putting up real money.
My money is and has always been on the release and that he’s never played for the Dodgers again. But obviously I’m not putting up real money.
speaking of money, this should put the silly Manfred has an anti-Dodger bias:
If my calculations are correct, Trevor Bauer getting docked 50 games of pay would reduce his $32 million salary by 31%. So #Dodgers would owe him $22 million, with $23.5 million going toward CBT payroll. That would bring them to $232.3 million, just under $233-million threshold.
I can’t see the Dodgers releasing him so he can pitch for the Giants, Yankees, Astros, Padres, etc on their nickel. The man committed no crime. Let him pitch.
4. He opts out.
Possible. He would probably exceed the 22.1 mil in a free agent deal which most likely would be at least two years. There are probably a couple of teams that are out there who would take him. Everyone might be right, and they might just release him, but, that would be like throwing 22.1 million down the drain with no return to your investment. They would still have to pay him. I think if he does not opt out. LA has no choice but to keep him or try and trade him.
Why release him? So someone else can pick him up and we pay him to pitch against us? That’s nuts.
He’s well rested and you can never have too much pitching. Put him back to work. If he opts out then it’s on him. And yes, there are teams that would be interested.
So let me get this straight. Bauer has been on administrative leave paid by the Dodgers. So if he’s been suspended for 194 games, it seems to me that the Dodgers would not owe him,or that money should be taken off the CBT for last year.
Someone on another site said that he thought the Bauer would not accept any type of suspension.
would he be able to play while appealing the suspension?
Seems to me there’s still a lot of things unanswered
Bauer’s suspension for that time period includes not being paid, and his salary for last season did not count against the CBT. He is also losing pay for 50 games next season as retroactive payment for money he was paid while on administrative leave.
OK now that makes sense. Thanks for clearing that up.
concerning the Giants and Correa;
Nobody here knows anything, myself included, except for one thing: he’s not pitching for us again so wake up from that daydream.
Oh really? SO they eat 22 mil and release him? Ridiculous and not very financially responsible. My guess is they will either play him, trade him or pray to the baseball gods that he opts out, which he might do if he feels the situation is untenable. In any case there will most likely be a face-to-face meeting before any decision is made.
I wouldn’t bet on that, Skippy.
I’m come back and let you have an internet victory lap if you’re right. Enjoy the moment.
If you are right, Kudos. I just don’t want to see him pitch for the Giants, Padres, Yankees, or Asstros on our nickel. Happy Holidays.
Id bet on it