It is only December 10, and the Hot Stove League is about a month old with more than two months before pitchers and catchers are due to report. So far there are already three teams already in excess of the CBT Threshold, NYM, NYY, and San Diego. There are four more teams in excess of $200MM, Philadelphia, Atlanta, LAA, and Blue Jays. Toronto just increased their payroll with the signing of CF Kevin Kiermaier. That acquisition was necessary to try to give them a bonafide defensive CF and to keep George Springer more healthy this year.
Steve Cohen’s NYM’s AAV payroll is already north of $330MM, and they want to do more. They are considered to be the favorites for Koudai Senga. They are also looking for more bullpen help.
NYY is second in line with the highest payroll. But they have done nothing this winter except spend money chasing their own, Anthony Rizzo, and Aaron Judge. They have lost a lot of their bullpen, and they still need to replace Jameson Taillon. I doubt that they believe they can catch Houston with Frankie Montas, Luis Severino, and Domingo Germán as #3, #4, and #5. I think they are seen as a potential landing spot for Carlos Correa because Scot Boras needs a big spending team to push SFG, and he knows neither the Twins nor Cubs are that team. The Yankees need pitching, and Carlos Rodón wants to play in the Bronx. Rodón and either Senga or Chris Bassitt will go a long way with building that rotation. Of course they could also sign Correa and include Anthony Volpe and Gleyber Torres in a trade with Miami for one of their pitchers.
San Diego has gone waaaaaaay over the top. I still think they might have been better off bypassing on Bogie and concentrate on their holes They still have holes in their SP, OF, DH, and bench. Nick Martinez was the Pads #6 pitcher last year. This year he is #4 with Adrián Morejón the #5. Morejón’s durability is a question which is why he is considered more of a bullpen choice. They are already well past the threshold, they still could be in on more pitching and OF/DH help. They could use a deeper bench as well.
Philadelphia has never exceeded the CBT threshold. They do have an owner that said he wanted to spend stupid money. They are a little more than $1MM south of the threshold, and will probably exceed it this year. They are still looking for more bullpen help. If they do not think their young pitching is ready, they may also be looking for more SP pitching depth.
While Alex Anthopoulos has said that there are no constraints on surpassing the CBT, they are sure balking at signing Dansby Swanson. They currently sit at $224MM, $9MM below the threshold. Swanson would take them over. Swanson has seen the extravaganza afforded to both Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts, and figures that Carlos Correa will get better than $300MM. Dansby seemingly believes he is due more than what MLBTR has projected, 7 years $154MM ($22MM AAV), and he will probably get it.
The Braves have a 2nd year 22 year old SS, Vaughn Grissom, who they believe can assume SS. He came up to Atlanta in 2022 to play 2B for the injured Ozzie Albies. He played well at 21, three years removed from HS:
The Braves have shown that they are not afraid of going into a new season without one of their stalwarts. With Austin Riley, Matt Olson, Ronald Acuña Jr., Travis d’Arnaud, William Contreras, Michael Harris, and Ozzie Albies, I am sure they believe they can absorb any unforeseen shortfall offensively.
With Grissom in fold, I believe Atlanta will let Dansby walk rather than go over the threshold for Swanson. They still may exceed the CBT threshold, but it will not be for Swanson (IMO).
Who can figure what the Halos will do. They still plan on spending. How much and on who…???
Texas sits just below $200MM, and have given every indication that they plan on adding additional players. Maybe by trade, but they have shown the past two years that they are not afraid to spend. Are they still in on Rodón? They need OF/DH help as well. Before the Hot Stove League is over, Texas will be north of $200MM in AAV payroll.
The Dodgers? They have the 13th highest AAV payroll. They sit at $187MM, and have a huge albatross hanging over them in the name of Trevor Bauer. There is no question that the Dodgers are a wealthy team. But it would be even difficult for them to absorb $100MM in back and future salary plus taxes for Bauer. That is $100MM in cash out the door this year, not spread out over 3 or more years. If AF wants to use the fans as the scapegoat for not wanting Carlos Correa, what is he going to say when he has to take on Trevor Bauer? It is not like the majority of fans are impatiently clamoring for Bauer to take the mound. If Bauer were not a consideration, I do believe that Correa would absolutely be a target for the Dodgers.
With payroll uncertainty, I am taking the Dodgers at their word that they believe in the hype of their MiLB players, and their actions of not signing a costly FA. Their roster still figures to be 90-95 wins, and good enough for at least a wild card. As great of a year as Aaron Judge had, NYY was swept by Houston in the ALCS. As indicated above, the payroll is higher, but the roster has not improved. AF sees this, and I am sure does not want to get caught in that mentality of spending without improving the roster.
I too am concerned about the Dodgers SP. If it fails, then Carlos Correa is not going to make a difference anyway. If their rotation stays intact (I know Big IF), and they can get innings out of Bobby Miller and Gavin Stone, in addition to Ryan Pepiot, Michael Grove, and Andre Jackson, maybe they can keep their big 4 healthy for October. Or at least until the deadline.
I guess I am not willing to quit on this team before the season even starts. There may still be changes to the roster, but I think the significant ones will come via trade and not FA.
I know some out there have already given Miguel Vargas the ROY, and while I am not in that camp, I am anxious to see how he actually does. I am also eager to see what the other rookies can do. Me, I am going with a younger Corbin Carroll as the NL ROY.
As a business, the Dodgers need to get under the threshold this year. Then maybe next winter they can pull out all the stops for Shohei Ohtani.
Finally, while it may seem a bit unfair for NYM to spend $330MM and Oakland only $52MM, I am not nearly as upset at Steve Cohen and NYM as I am with Oakland. EVERY MLB TEAM, just received $30MM from the sale of MLB’s remaining interest in BAMTech Media to Disney. And they are only spending $52MM? MLB can be upset with Cohen, but their indignation should not end there. Except for maybe Baltimore, every team with a payroll under $100MM is not trying to compete. The owners of the bottom payroll teams (Oakland, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati), are taking their BAMTech Media revenues and revenue sharing dollars and sticking them in their pockets. The revenue sharing dollars are meant to provide for additional player personnel payroll. The Angelos family (Orioles) is having internal family turmoil in deciding if they should sell. A competitive team helps with that endeavor. Baltimore may be competitive, but let’s see if they are willing to now spend to become a contender.
Until MLB institutes a floor, nothing is going to change. Steve Cohen has no problem incurring the taxes if he can get a WS champion. Look at what Peter Seidler has done for San Diego. He wants to win. If John Fisher (A’s) or Bob Nutting (Pirates) do not want to compete, MLB should push them to sell their team to someone who can afford to compete. Even Tampa Bay and Cleveland have payrolls over $110MM. They have the blueprint as to how you can compete at that level, but not at $52MM.
Excellent write up Jeff.
I heard that Correa wants to play in LA and he feels so badly about what he was a part of he’s willing to adjust his salary to help keep the team under the cap for the next two years.
It’s a 20 year contract at $15M/yr
Or is it?
It’s a lifetime contract: 2 at $15M, 2 at $40M, 2 at $39M then 5 at $10M then $1M a year for the rest of his life or one half of 1% ownership. There will be opt outs beginning now as I’m opting out of trying to understand and interpret these voices in my head.
That was 2 at 30 not 39. The voices corrected me too late to edit.
And the Mets keep on spending. As I noted above, the Mets signed Koudai Senga for 5 years $75MM. Mets AAV payroll is now up to $346MM. How high can it possibly go?
With Kiermaier gone will the Dodgers look to Max Kepler?
Max Kepler is another good defensive RF with questionable offensive skills. He has a career OPS + of less than 100 with a declining OPS every year since 2019. He would be affordable with an $8.5MM salary ($7MM AAV) with a $10MM option and $1MM buyout. I think they are better off with Trayce Thompson/James Outman/Jason Heyward.
Apparently the Dodgers made a very strong effort for Kevin Kiermaier, but living in Tampa, he preferred to stay in the east. There is still no report on the Kiermaier financial terms with Toronto. One thing we might be able to discern from this offseason is that geography does matter.
Good article, very relevant. And I’ll add that the main reason any teams aav is so high is because they don’t have enough young players and just spend on proven free agents. At some pt Friedman needs to bring up some of his young talent. Considering the Bauer situation and wanting to reset their payroll it seems like this is the season to do it.
Tis the season
Our highest rated prospect we don’t need, or next highest rated prospect isn’t ready. Then it’s Vargas and Busch ranked in the middle of the Top 100 and Outman isn’t even on the list. The scouting and prospect ranking apparati aren’t as high on our guys as some fans apparently are.
If this is the plan, we might have a third of our lineup OPS’n .700 or less. Personally I don’t believe it is the plan, but as the stars align themselves elsewhere it’s beginning to look more like it.
Someone else said it earlier, “I smell a trade.” Friedman isn’t going with 3 rookies on the field and 1 or 2 in the rotation.
Diego and Miller have the highest ceilings in the org. Give them time. We should see Miller this year and Cartaya next. Pages next year too. Vargas, Outman & Busch are ready for a look now. Pepiot and Grove have upside. Sleeper DeLuca maybe gets a look at some point. Possibly Amaya. We need to get lucky and hit big on one of these guys.
“Diego and Miller have the highest ceilings in the org. Give them time.”
That’s more or less exactly what I said. We don’t need a catcher and Miller isn’t ready yet. Vargas and Busch are the next highest raked, Outman isn’t ranked at all and those other guys, all good players, are long shots to contribute in ‘23.
I regurgitate, which means to repeat, I see a trade in our future.
Players with arm injuries and surgeries tend to lose power in the first year of their return. Kemp and Gonzales are examples. Bellinger and Muncy and Taylor suffered with reduced ability to make contact with the ball after coming back from injury. They still were able to swing hard so a question remains, was their down year due to injury or what? Simone Biles all of a sudden got lost in the air and would land on her back. There can be a fine line between excellence and failure.
When I suggest trading Taylor or Muncy the response is why trade low but would the Dodgers actually be trading high. Are their salaries preventing the Dodgers from signing players that fill a hole those two don’t?
I look forward to watching Outman. He is extremely athletic and likeable. He strikes out a lot with his uppercut swing so pitches down and away or up are going to be the way pitchers try to get him out. The Dodgers couldn’t fix Bellinger. Can they fix Outman? If not, is Taylor the fallback? Is Vargas a left fielder or a third baseman? Can Thompson stay healthy? Is Pages ready enough?
“There can be a fine line between excellence and failure.”
Boy, do I know that one.
I look forward to all of those rookies who we are talking about bringing up. I look forward to most of them being traded for proven producers.
RF Betts or Outman
2B. Lux or Betts or Busch
LF Vargas or Taylor or Outman
3B Muncy or Vargas
SS. Taylor or Lux
CF Thompson or Outman
DH Busch or Muncy
That could make a competitive rowing team. Not sure it can win the West.
Rowing though is so east coast.
True. But Stanford and Berkeley have Top 10 rowing teams. I rowed one summer in Wisconsin. 3 miles every day to and from work as a lifeguard. Actually two summers if you count the year I helped plant 10 acres of pumpkins, but I digress.
Give Thompson 500 ABs isn’t the worst strategy ever.
RotoChamp likes him.
Love the paragraph that names Miller, Stone, Pepiot, Grove, Jackson. I like all these guys’ arms and one is bound to level up.
I hope at least two of them level up, because at least two of Kershaw, Gonsolin, and May will end up on the IL for 2023.
True. Can’t expect too much from May post-injury.
I don’t expect much out of any of them in ‘23. If they are average ML players, between 1-2 WAR, it would be a huge win in my estimation.
But then how do you explain Verlanders comeback at his age? PEDs?
You would think that one or more of the guys you mention would be able to contribute next season, although from what I saw last year, Jackson’s future is in the bullpen. He seemed much more effective in that role.
According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman in an article for the New York Post, the Yankees are preparing to make an offer to Carlos Rodón, and the organization is optimistic about the forthcoming proposal.
The Giants have seemed to pivot away from Rodón to Chris Bassitt . They are also researching Sean Manaea.
Rodon the NYY seems like no-brainer.
Might as well bring back JT.
The Dodgers are going to wait until after the Trevor Bauer saga is determined to see how much they have. JT says he is willing to wait.
Who else might they be saying that to?
JT says he’s willing to wait until 2027 when the decision is finally handed down.
Best I saw today was from a cartoon on Facebook. Two kittens staring at a Christmas tree and singing, Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree, your ornaments are history! Classic. Another good one was a post some guy wrote, I was trying to get back with my exe wife, but then she realized I was after my money. Just a little humor to get you through a day where there is no baseball news.
I got a sales call from a guy selling caskets today. I told him that’s the last thing I need.
My wife said she wanted to go someplace she’d never been. I said Try the kitchen.
A guy was sitting at the Thanksgiving dinner table with several family members and his 7 year old niece wouldn’t stop staring at him. Finally he says “why are you staring at me like that”. She says “I’m waiting to see how you drink like a fish”.
Star free agent SS Dansby Swanson appears to be possibility for the Dodgers, where he could reunite with Freddie Freeman. Swanson, who married USWNT/Chicago Red Stars star Mallory Pugh Saturday, also has drawn interest from Cubs/others. Incumbent Braves remain stealthy or quiet.
They forgot to mention he’s also a possibility for the Twins, Giants, Orioles, Red Sox, Cardinals, Angels………..etc, etc.
I bet on Cubs.
That’s like betting on Ralph Nader to be president.
Some whispers we’re targeting Swanson.
So are five or six other teams. Don’t hold your breath.