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Sunday, November 20, 2022

Dodgers have shed millions in payroll. Will they sign a star or try to reset the luxury tax?

Through the opening weeks of free agency, the team has largely shed payroll.

With the expiring contracts of Trea Turner, Craig Kimbrel, David Price and other free agents — not including pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who is expected to finalize a one-year contract next week to return to the team in 2023 — the Dodgers already had about $70 million coming off the books.

After declining Justin Turner’s club option and, on Friday, non-tendering former National League MVP center fielder Cody Bellinger, the team has freed up about another $30 million more for next year’s payroll.

The question now: What will the Dodgers do with their nine figures of financial flexibility? And how aggressive will they be in spending this newfound $100 million to build their 2023 roster?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 20, 2022 at 11:49 PM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers

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   1. TomH Posted: November 21, 2022 at 09:32 AM (#6106279)
summary: they have the $$ assets to once again nab a few of the very best players, and be favorites heading into 2023.
But going cheap for 1 season and re-setting the luxury tax, which is increasingly costly the longer you pay it, is a Huge financial incentive that might result in the Dahgers waiting to make big moves in 23-24 offseason, after W Buehler is healthy again also.
   2. Darren Posted: November 21, 2022 at 10:33 AM (#6106285)
Looks like they are around $55 mil under the threshold. They could add two large deals or multiple smaller ones and still be under the limit.
   3. pthomas Posted: November 21, 2022 at 11:06 AM (#6106289)
They can just buy the Angels and be done with it.
   4. DCA Posted: November 21, 2022 at 11:19 AM (#6106290)
I don't think the Dodgers are going under the limit. They *could* but they have multiple positions to fill: shortstop, 2 outfielders, DH if Justin Turner isn't resigned, at least one and probably several good SP. That's 5-7 rotation/lineup slots to be filled at market rate.

If they bag one of the top tier FA, it's basically impossible to stay under the tax line.
   5. Mefisto Posted: November 21, 2022 at 12:00 PM (#6106294)
I think tanking would be a good strategy for the Dodgers.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: November 21, 2022 at 12:37 PM (#6106302)
Seems as good a time to reset as any. For one thing, it can be difficult even to plan a reset when you're running as far over the cap as the Dodgers have run -- i.e. getting this much money to come off at once isn't easy. Secondly, if there's any team that could survive after losing 15-20 WAR it's the 2022 Dodgers -- 111 actual wins, 116 pythag wins (just staggering). They'll still have an excellent shot at the playoffs and the division while staying under the cap.

The "flaw" in that plan is that they don't really have the young stars they'd want to be tying up so spend all that money on for 2024 and beyond. Seager, T Turner and a non-flopping Bellinger were those guys. Will Smith is a very fine player but he's got 3 years control left and will be a C turning 31 when he hits FA. Lux could break out big time or Buehler could get healthy and be the next Verlander but it's not obvious who they'd be clearing payroll room for (other than the owners' pockets). If it's not some combo of Judge, Turner, Correa then it's gotta be Ohtani.
   7. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: November 21, 2022 at 12:43 PM (#6106303)
I expect them to reset the tax. Why bother winning 110 games when you can cut costs, still win 95 games and have only a marginally worse chance of winning the world series?
   8. The Duke Posted: November 21, 2022 at 01:08 PM (#6106309)
A few questions:

1. When is luxury tax calculated for a year ? Is it opening day payroll, average payroll, highest payroll for any day ? Is the last day of the World Series when the "year" is over or does it extend to Dec 31? Put another way, is the cap year from world aeries to World Series or Jan 1 to Dec 31st?

2. Let's say you are sitting at 230 and the tax is 233. You can acquire a guy for $5 million - if the acqusition date is Jan 1, April 1 or July 1 - does the amount applied against the tax cap vary or is it $5 million in all cases?

2b. If someone is making $12 million a year is that $1 million a month or so only playing months count or only the per year amount count ?

3. Can you over on June 1st and go under on June 2 and still be in compliance ?
   9. The Duke Posted: November 21, 2022 at 01:10 PM (#6106311)
They'll reset this year. Plenty of room to add and they want to be able to sign ohtani next year
   10. Darren Posted: November 21, 2022 at 02:14 PM (#6106320)
I don't think the Dodgers are going under the limit. They *could* but they have multiple positions to fill: shortstop, 2 outfielders, DH if Justin Turner isn't resigned, at least one and probably several good SP.


This sounds a bit exaggerated. Fangraphs depth charts already has them at 48.9 projected WAR, 4th best in the Majors. Spending $40-50 mil. under the cap could net them 5-7 more wins. They're in great shape.
   11. drdr Posted: November 21, 2022 at 02:57 PM (#6106324)
Luxury tax is total expenses at the end of the season, including the bonuses and benefits (benefits should be the same for all clubs, 12+ M per season, I don't know exactly what the latest CBA says). Contracts are calculated as an average (so, 3 year 3 + 5 + 7 M is 5 M each year for luxury tax calculation). If player is traded, his cap for that season is divided based on the time spent, so, $5 M player who is traded at half a season would be counted as $2.5 M for each club.
   12. JJ1986 Posted: November 21, 2022 at 03:58 PM (#6106332)
When would Trevor Bauer's suspension be overturned (if it is)? It would be useless to get under the tax only to end up going over to pay him.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: November 21, 2022 at 06:29 PM (#6106356)
Players are paid during the season. It seems to me it's reasonably common that signing bonuses (when spread out over years), deferred payments, etc. to be paid (in part) outside of the season.

2. Let's say you are sitting at 230 and the tax is 233. You can acquire a guy for $5 million - if the acqusition date is Jan 1, April 1 or July 1 - does the amount applied against the tax cap vary or is it $5 million in all cases?

Depends what you mean by "for $5 M." If by that you mean they either sign a player for $5M before the season starts or they trade for a guy making $10 M at the half-way mark ... then yes, those are both $5M spent that season, they count equally against the tax.

When the Padres traded for Soto and Bell, their payroll increased by 2 months of Bell and Soto's salaries minus 2 months of whatever they were paying Voit and Gore (and whatever other MLers might have been in that deal).

There really aren't any loopholes to exploit here. The one the Red Sox used to get Rusney Castillo off the CBT books was closed. You will be charged that player's average salary (including signing bonuses, option buyouts, deferred payments and any other guaranteed money) for the duration of the time you are responsible for paying any of it (pro-rated if you are, say, paying only half).

Now I suspect I'm wrong but, as far as I know, you could sign Ohtani for 30 years and $550 M if you want. But the Commish's office can probably reject that contract.
   14. The Duke Posted: November 21, 2022 at 10:13 PM (#6106387)
So total costs of contract are added up and averaged over the life - got it. You portion of a contract is proportional to number if the player is on , let's say two rosters. Calculated at "end of the season" which I assume is end of World Series. Walt, you said players are paid just during the season. I thought they spread that out over 12 months.

1. What about incentives that get paid after season is over. I assume there are some. Are they've added back into the season that just finished ?
2. So this implies if you are running at a rate to go over the cap early in the year, you can use the deadline to trade away salary that might get your year end total year's spend under the cap. Is that right, in theory ?


   15. Walt Davis Posted: November 21, 2022 at 11:27 PM (#6106397)
Are they've added back into the season that just finished ?

Again, for CBT purposes, it doesn't matter when the money is paid or how the contract is structured. If you sign Bogaerts for 6 years and $150 M guaranteed, then he is charged at $25 M per year for 6 years. (OK there is some monkeying in long contracts with deferred money around NPV at a very low assumed return rate -- I'm not sure if that factors into CBT or not ... e.g. Cots's says Mookie's NPV at MLBPA is $307, not the $365 headline number. I'm not sure which is used for CBT purposes. So in that way, the structure of a contract might affect its official CBT value but that would be more lazy reporting on the part of the media rather than some loophole in the CBT. Note a ridiculous amount of Mookie's contract is deferred, the gap between the headline number and the MLBPA NPV number is usually pretty small on an annual basis.)

The UPC is in Appendix A of the CBA (you can find the old one here. Clearly states payment starts with the start of the championship season, ends with the end, semi-monthly installments. Speical covenants are allowed and, as I mentioned, it seems reasonably common to have offseason signing bonus or deferred payments. But most players will be on nothing but the UPC and I'm pretty sure that even for those with special covenants, their non-deferred salary for year X is paid in full during the season.
   16. Rusty Priske Posted: November 22, 2022 at 02:13 PM (#6106466)
When would Trevor Bauer's suspension be overturned


Does anyone think that is actually going to happen?

I guess the Dodgers need to worry about being forced to pay his money, but nobody should expect to see him in uniform again.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: November 22, 2022 at 04:59 PM (#6106497)
nobody should expect to see him in uniform again.

I don't think anybody is, probably not even Duke. The question is if the suspension is lifted, what effect would that have on the Dodgers payroll for CBT purposes? I'm pretty sure he counts if he's not suspended for (a portion of) 2023. Possibly if the suspension is lifted retroactively to April 29 2022, the Dodgers may have to pay a bigger penalty for last season. But I don't know for sure on either of those. Certainly there's a sensible case to be made by the Dodgers that they can't be expected to plan their 2023 payroll under the assumption that a player suspended for the full season may become un-susupended at some later date.
   18. The Duke Posted: November 22, 2022 at 07:05 PM (#6106513)
It is likely a stitch up so it should be overturned by the arbiter but it won't. There's so few facts out there - just a lot of innuendo. He's such a loathsome guy no one cares. He's only fighting for 2-3 years pay because there is no way he plays in MLB again unless he gets a complete bill of health. There is a story out there that says the arbiter will decide this month.

The two year suspension is egregious and I would think the union would be fighting it. I don't know why the players aren't more focused on this - this type of thing is a real risk to their fin well being and a he said/she said leading to two years of lost pay is extraordinary. In addition to him losing his main source of income, she wants to take a big chunk of his prior earnings.

It's probably has to happen to someone less loathsome for the players to get religion

   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 22, 2022 at 07:11 PM (#6106514)
The two year suspension is egregious and I would think the union would be fighting it. I don't know why the players aren't more focused on this - this type of thing is a real risk to their fin well being and a he said/she said leading to two years of lost pay is extraordinary.

You answered your own question. The players probably agree that he's a loathsome person and are fine with him being suspended for choking and beating and raping a woman. If they don't plan on being so loathsome, it's no real threat to them. They already know standard DV doesn't get penalized like this.
   20. McCoy Posted: November 22, 2022 at 08:19 PM (#6106519)
I would imagine either the union did appeal and lost or Trevor didn't appeal. The union has a responsibility to follow the procedures for their players. Whether they like them or not. Beyond following the CBA I'm not sure what the MLBPA can do and if they abrogated their duties i would imagine we would have heard about it by now.
   21. NaOH Posted: November 22, 2022 at 08:46 PM (#6106525)
I would imagine either the union did appeal and lost or Trevor didn't appeal.

Bauer did appeal the suspension and the arbitrator has not yet ruled.
   22. The Duke Posted: November 23, 2022 at 06:41 PM (#6106666)
19. Except we, the players and everyone else except the two protagonists don't know what really happened. We know a few things

1. She filed civil charges
2. She field for a restraining order which was denied because he wasn't deemed a threat to her
3. The DA declined to prosecute even though they have all the "evidence" we have seen.
4. He's denied any DV or illegal behavior

Other than that no one knows what happened. The MLB banned him and presumably had a report that they used as the basis - so maybe the union and the players have seen it but I'm not sure if they have.

What if it turns out the pictures she took are unrelated to the events or falsified (as he now alleges).

Sounds like we will know soon

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