Sunday, December 12, 2004

Totally Arbitrary Rumor-Fueled Speculation And Some Payroll Numbers

This mention (BP subscription required) of walk-God Kevin Youkilis along with endless Beltre to Seattle rumors got me thinking: if Boston's negotiations with Edgar Renteria don't work out and LA's negotiations with Adrian Beltre don't work out, will we see Alex Cora for Kevin Youkilis? Would that in turn mean the stathead fantasy of twin Youkilis/Myrow and Choi/Saenz platoons at the corners for the Dodgers, perhaps with a Mike Rose/Tom Wilson platoon at catcher? The Dodgers would rock out with their walks out.

Anyway, I just wanted to visit the Dodgers' payroll data. Seven Dodgers are under contract: Dessens, Dreifort, Green, Ishii, Kent, Ledee, and Weaver. Their contracts total $51.73 million for 2005 (caveat: that's assuming Kent has an even 8.5/8.5 breakdown, something I haven't seen confirmed). In 2006, $10 million is owed between Ledee and Kent, and the Dodgers would either owe $1.3m to Dessens or pay a $250K buyout and have $3.3/1.1 (2006) and $4.0/1.1 (2007) options on Ishii, meaning the Dodgers are on the hook for a guaranteed $12.2 million.

Eight arbitration-eligible players are on the Dodgers roster: Bradley, Carrara, Cora, Gagne, Izturis, Penny, Saenz, and Scott Stewart. This isn't my area of expertise, but I made the following estimates for each:

Bradley: $2.5 million
Carrara: $1.2 million
Cora: $2.3 million
Gagne: $7 million
Izturis: $2.5 million
Penny: $4.5 million
Saenz: $1.0 million
Stewart: $900 thousand
Total: $21.9 million

Be sure to hold those numbers against me at the First Annual "Things I Was Wrong About" conference. It wouldn't surprise me to see Saenz or Stewart non-tendered; I'd say there's a pretty good chance that one of them will be.

If all the arb-eligible players are brought back, then my estimates make a $73.63 million total for 15 players. That means ten more roster spots will have to be filled, and with the likelihood of some folks being on the DL at any given time and to account for the money to be spent on September call-ups, we'll bump that up to 13. Those 13 will make about the $300,000 minimum for the season; I'll use $310,000 for the average since some will get a little over the minimum. That's 28 players, and there will still be another 12 players on the 40-man roster who, to my understanding, will cost $50,000 each. That brings the Dodgers' payroll baseline to $78.3 million. Every player making above the minimum who gets acquired or subtracted would then increase or decrease the payroll by their salary minus $310,000.

So if the Dodgers are going to have a payroll of $100 million and bring back everyone who is arbitration eligible, they'll be adding $21.7m in contracts above the minimum. If, for example, Beltre is re-signed and makes $13 million in 2005 and the Dodgers get Clement for $8 million in 2005, they'd have a $98.7 million payroll. If they deal Cora and non-tender Stewart on top of that, they could acquire someone with a $4.2 million price tag. Of course, the notion that $100 million is a drop-dead budget is fiction, and were that the case free agent contracts would probably be structured to pay more in later years with the Dreifort and Green contracts coming off the books.

The "stathead fantasy" option would be a dynamite Scrabble play.
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