Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Money, Roster Decisions and Rumors

There has been a lot of talk this offseason about the Royals and their payroll limits. I have heard Dayton make statements that the payroll can be in the $70 - $75 million range. I have also heard reporters and bloggers alike stating that Glass is cheap as he won't allow payroll to be much higher than it was last year which was a little over $58 million. Let's take a look at the current 40 man roster and see how the payroll projects. I am sure the roster will continue to change this offseason but the only change I am making today is leaving Jason Smith off the roster and putting in his place a Rule V pick. All salaries are shown in millions.

Jose Guille - $12
Gil Meche - $11
Coco Crisp - $5.75
Ron Mahay - $4
David DeJesus - $3.6
Zach Greinke* - $4
Mike Jacobs* - $3.3
Mark Teahen* - $3
John Buck* - $2.8
Miguel Olivo - $2.7
John Bale* - $2.2
Luke Hochevar - $1.2
Jimmy Gobble* - $1.5
Ross Gload - $1.9
Esteban German* - $1.4
Joel Peralta* - $1.1
Joakim Soria - $1
Kyle Davies* - $1
Joey Gathright* - $0.5
Brian Bannister - $0.45
Ryan Shealy, Alex Gordon, Tony Pena Jr., Billy Butler, Alberto Callaspo, Robinson Tejada - $0.42 each
Shane Costa, Neal Musser, Mike Aviles, Devon Lowery, Carlos Rosa, Jairo Cuevas, Jeff Fulchino, Kila Ka'aihue, Mario Lisson, Mitch Maier, Brayan Pena, Julio Pimentel, Henry Barrera, Rule V pick** - $0.4.

* = arbitration eligible. Approximate salary figure.
** = unknown player until the Rule V draft in December.

The above 40 man roster will cost the Royals $72.52 million in 2009. Plus the Royals still owe Yasuhiko Yabuta $3 million in salary for 2009 and an additional $500 thousand buyout of his 2010 option giving the team a player salary commitment of $76.02 million.

Now there are several issues with this roster. Currently Guillen, Crisp, and DeJesus are locks for the outfield leaving one spot for Teahen, Costa, Gathright and possibily Maier as a backup. Well Teahen, Costa and Gathright are all out of options and would have to clear waivers or be released outright if they fail to make the 2009 team. Likewise we have three catchers who are all out of options as well leaving one to be cut. The infield has Gordon, Aviles, Callaspo, Jacobs and Gload as locks for the roster unless traded leaving just 2 more spots open on the 25 man roster assuming a 12 man pitching staff. So Butler, Shealy, German, Pena Jr., and any free agent addition is left fighting over those last 2 spots. My thinking is one of Butler and Shealy would take a spot rotating in with Gload and Jacobs at 1B and DH and German and Pena Jr. would fight for the backup infielder job.

So let's say that German is cut in favor of Pena Jr. and Costa is kept as the backup outfielder with Maier in Omaha. Then the club deals John Buck for a prospect and keeps Pena as a backup catcher. (This scenerio saves the club the most money.) That means that German, Buck, Teahen, Gathright, and possibily Shealy get cut from the roster. For this scenerio lets say Shealy is gone too as Butler makes the team. So that is $8.12 million dollars shaved off of the team payroll. Now we have a payroll of $67.9 million. Dayton would still have on his offseason list a starting pitcher, preferrably left-handed, relief help and a middle infielder. You can see why Dayton is not planning on doing much shopping in free agency. What Dayton needs to do is flip those players who aren't in the plans anyway for role players who fill the needs just mentioned.

So what can we get for Teahen, German, Gathright, Buck, Shealy/Ross Gload plus about $5 - $7 million? That is what Dayton Moore has been busy finding out. There are rumors out there of a Mark Teahen for Sean Marshall trade with the Cubs. Marshall is a LHSP who will likely make $420k next season. What would the Padres, Reds, or Brewers give up in return for Buck? I could see Gload fitting in well with the Mariners, Cardinals or Giants. As for free agents, the Royals could be looking at players like Willie Bloomquist, David Eckstein, Nick Punto, Ramon Vazquez and Felipe Lopez in the middle infield but I expect them to do most of their player acquisition through trades. What are some other players that you feel like the Royals could acquire this winter? Please post your thoughts in the comments section.

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