The Rays’ 2011 Payroll

The Rays’ owner, Stuart Sternberg, made some waves earlier this week by announcing payroll would be reduced next season. This information came as a surprise to some, despite being pretty obvious based on the Rays’ current contract outlooks.

As of this writing, the six highest paid players on the Rays are:

Carlos Pena $10.1M
Carl Crawford $10M
Pat Burrell $9M
Rafael Soriano $7.5M
Jason Bartlett $4M
Dan Wheeler $4M

A resounding five of those players (everyone but Bartlett) will reach free agency at season’s end. Assuming no extensions or trades occur before November, that’s roughly $40M off the books. Throw in Gabe Kapler and Grant Balfour’s combined $3M and the Rays have more than half of their 2010 $70M payroll coming off the books.

Assume the Rays see some aggressive pay raises through arbitration and they would still have to take on something like $30M in 2011 salary to be near this year’s tab. Take the Yankees’ and Red Sox’s off-seasons as a testament to how much money that really is. The super-rich Yankees added Javier Vazquez ($11.5M), Curtis Granderson ($5.5M), Nick Johnson ($5.5M), and Randy Winn ($1.1M) which totals less than $25M. The super-aggressive Red Sox added John Lackey ($18M), Adrian Beltre ($9M), Jeremy Hermida ($3.3M), Bill Hall (~$1M), Mike Cameron ($7.3M), and Marco Scutaro ($5M) for a total of nearly $44M. Take Lackey’s salary out of the equation, though, and they added about $26M in 2010 salaries.

Of course it’s asinine to try and project a team’s lineup a few weeks from now, to attempt and project all the changes and especially with such mass departure over 12 months away is pointless. In a general sense, the free agent class will feature some attractive options like Cliff Lee, Joe Mauer, and the guy who would turn all the Tampa-based Yankees’ fans into Rays’ fans for a few days, Derek Jeter, but it’s just hard to see the Rays spending and acquiring so much salary within a single off-season.

So yeah, the Rays’ payroll is probably going to be reduced in 2011. The sun will probably rise tomorrow morning too.

Salary data from Cot’s.

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W. Palm Bch
12 years ago

Desmond Jennings time

12 years ago
Reply to  W. Palm Bch

I have watched him several times. He’s not there yet or even close. P late discipline has a long way to go.

When Crawford departs he’ll get a long look— I would say June ’11 is a safe bet