Now that Denard Span has been acquired and the Nats have cut loose the expected non-tender candidates (saving about $9M in estimated arbitration salary), the next phase in the Nats off-season can commence.
A couple of larger question remains; is the team pursuing a major starter, either via free agency or in trade? And, is the team going to commit large payroll dollars to Adam LaRoche? Perhaps that question can be answered by looking at the team’s payroll commitments and making educated guesses as to how large a 2013 payroll Mike Rizzo will be given to work with.
The Nats payroll as risen from roughly $66M in 2010, to $68M in 2011 to $92M at the beginning of last year. $92M only ranked the team 20th in the league in payroll and we were rewarded with the best record in baseball. Is it safe to assume that payroll will be allowed to rise again? I think it is; Rizzo’s Span trade was clearly a “win now” move, looking to capture the team’s current shape (which is mostly locked in place for at least 3 years) and build on it towards a World Series title. To that end, I think it is safe to say we can expect at least a rise to the $110M payroll plateau for 2013′s team. Perhaps even higher. (If you disagree, definitely discuss in the comments section).
(note; this XLS is available in the Links section of this blog, as well as directly via this link. There’s a bit more information online than I cut-n-pasted into the tables below, including salary workings for previous years).
Players currently under contract for 2013 under existing contracts: 12 players
|Under Contract for 2013 (12)||Current or 2013 Contract||2013 Salary|
|Werth, Jayson||7 yr/$126M (11-17)||$16,571,000|
|Zimmerman, Ryan||5 yr/$45M (09-13)||$14,100,000|
|Morse, Michael||2yr/$10.5M (12-13)||$6,750,000|
|Suzuki, Kurt||4 years/$16.25M (2010-13), plus 2014 option||$6,450,000|
|Gonzalez, Gio||5yr/$42M (12-16)+17,18 options||$6,350,000|
|Span, Denard||5 years/$16.5M (2010-14), plus 2015 club option||$4,750,000|
|Strasburg, Stephen||4 yr/$15.1M (09-12) + 3.9M for 2013||$3,900,000|
|Maya, Yunesky||4 yr/$8M (10-13)||$2,000,000|
|Harper, Bryce||5 yr/$9.9M (11-15)||$2,000,000|
|Rendon, Anthony||4yr/$7.2M ($6M bonus) (12-16 w/ 17 opt)||$1,800,000|
|Purke, Matthew||4yr/$4.15M (2.75M bonus) (12-16) with 2 club opts||$1,037,500|
|Tracy, Chad||1yr/$1M (2013)||$1,000,000|
Total amount of payroll guaranteed here: $66,708,500
Arbitration Cases for 2013: 7 players. Note that I don’t entirely agree with all these estimates, thinking some are high (Clippard) and some are low (Storen), but the model that estimated them is pretty good, so we’ll go with these numbers.
|Arbitration Eligible Players for 2013 (7)||2013 MLBtraderumors Arbitration Salary Estimate|
Estimated amount of payroll here: $18,600,000
Pre-Arbitration players with club-Assigned Salaries: 7 players. I believe the 2013 MLB minimum salary is $490k; i’m guessing that the team will “give” a bit more salary to some of these guys, but the difference between $490k and $515k isn’t much in the grand scheme of things.
|Pre Arbitration MLB players (7)||Rough 2013 Salary estimate|
Total amount of payroll guaranteed here: $3,490,000
Other 40-man Players pre MLB service (10): The list of guys below are all on minor league deals and (I believe) don’t collect a full MLB salary, and I don’t project any of them on the 2013 opening day roster. They’re listed here to complete the 40-man roster members.
|Other 40-man Players pre MLB service (10)|
|Davis, Erik||1yr Minor League deal|
|Garcia, Christian||1yr Minor League deal|
|Karns, Nathan||1yr Minor League deal|
|Kimball, Cole||1yr Minor League deal|
|Perry, Ryan||1yr Minor League deal|
|Leon, Sandy||1yr Minor League deal|
|Solano, Jhonatan||1yr Minor League deal|
|Rivero, Carlos||1yr Minor League deal|
|Brown, Corey||1yr Minor League deal|
|Perez, Eury||1yr Minor League deal|
Total estimated 2013 payroll right now: $66,708,500 + $18,600,000 + $3,490,000 = $88,798,500.
So, going on the assumption that the team has about $110M to work with, can Mike Rizzo still acquire a 5th starter, a left-handed reliever and possibly Adam LaRoche with about $20M of free agency dollars? I don’t think they can. Now, if payroll were to rise to about $120M? That’s $30M right now to acquire those three resources. LaRoche at $15M/year, a lower-tier starter at $10-12M/year, and a lefty reliever at about $3M/year would fit perfectly.
Or, you trade Michael Morse, shed his $6.75M/year, and you could pursue a $16-$18M/year pitcher with the same $120M budget.
Or, you trade Morse for your 5th starter, assume the payroll implications are neutral, bring back LaRoche and a loogy, and you’re closer to a $110M payroll figure.
Or, you keep Morse, put him at first, let LaRoche walk and then go full-bore for Zack Greinke and use the whole of the $20M/year left right now on your FA starter. We fill the loogy from within (re-sign Tom Gorzelanny or Michael Gonzalez?) and make do with the offense as it stands.
Which way will the team go?