Dodgers open with record $310 million payroll, expected $47 million

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Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts hits an RBI single in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets on Thursday, June 2, 2022 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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The Los Angeles Dodgers opened the season with a record luxury tax payroll of $310.6 million and are on track to pay a record tax of nearly $47 million, figures show. compiled by Major League Baseball and obtained by The Associated Press. .

Five teams passed the $230 million opening-day threshold, which, if not changed by the end of the season, would be one of the lowest in 2016.

After adding Freddie Freeman and signing a big one-year contract with Trea Turner, Los Angeles was the only team to pass the new fourth threshold, the so-called Cohen tax named after New York Mets owner Steven Cohen. But the Dodgers’ payroll would drop by about $28.1 million if pitcher Trevor Bauer’s domestic violence suspension is upheld by a referee. The Dodgers’ payroll included $34 million for Bauer, his three-year contract average of $102 million.

The Mets, in their second season since Cohen bought the team, finished second with $289.3 million, $667,278 less than Cohen’s tax. That left them on track for a tax payment of just under $22.5 million after adding pitcher Max Scherzer, center fielder Starling Marte, outfielder Mark Canha and infielder All-Star Eduardo Escobar.

The Yankees were third with $261.4 million, which would result in a tax of $7.6 million.

Philadelphia, which fired manager Joe Girardi on Friday after a poor start, was fourth with $233.1 million, on track to pay a tax of around $629,000, Boston was fifth with $232.3 million , which would result in a tax of approximately $466,000.

San Diego, the only team other than the Dodgers to pay taxes last year, started this season $694,982 below the original $230 million threshold.

The luxury tax payroll includes the average annual values ​​of all players on 40-player rosters, plus just over $16 million per team for benefits and $1.67 million for each club’s share of the new $50 million pool for pre-arbitration players. The figures also include money owed to released players, option buybacks and cash transactions.

Totals change throughout the season as trades and roster changes are made, and tax is charged based on the final figure in December. For players remaining in salary arbitration, MLB included the club’s offers in its payroll figures.

Under the collective agreement reached in March following a 99-day lockout, the four tax thresholds this year are $230 million, $250 million, $270 million and $290 million. of dollars.

First-time offenders pay 20% on the amount above the first threshold, 32% above the second, 62.5% above the third and 80% above the fourth.

As a repeat offender, the Dodgers pay 30% over first, 42% over second, 75% over third and 90% over fourth.

Los Angeles paid taxes every season from 2013 to 2017, and its total bill through last year hit $182 million since the luxury tax began in 2003. That’s second only to the 348 bill. million dollars from the Yankees.

If the Dodgers owe taxes for 2023, they would pay 50% over next year’s first $233 million threshold, 62% over $253 million, 95% over $273 million dollars and 110% above $293 million.

The previous high for a luxury tax payroll so far was $297.9 million for the Dodgers in 2015, resulting in a record tax of just under $43.6 million.

A team’s tax rates are reset to the lowest level after dropping below the initial threshold in a year.

Four teams had luxury tax payrolls under $100 million: Oakland ($64.8 million), Pittsburgh ($73.5 million), Baltimore ($79.9 million) and Cleveland (91, 2 millions).

Also this week, the players’ association released its 2021 salary study, which showed average baseball salaries fell 10.2% from 2017 to last season.

The union calculated the 2021 average at $3,679,335, down 5.2% from what 2020 would have been at full pay had the season not been shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.

After dropping from $3.97 million in 2016 to a record low of just under $4.1 million in the first year of a new collective bargaining agreement, the average fell $1,500 in 2019 and fell at $4.05 million in 2019. The 2020 average would have been $3.89 million. had a full schedule played but was reduced to $1.6 million by pro-rated salaries over the 60-game season.

The union usually publishes its payslip in December, but the 2021 edition was delayed as staff engaged in collective bargaining.

Figures are based on 2021 salaries, bonuses earned and prorated shares of signing bonuses for 1,070 players on 26-player rosters and injured rosters as of August 31. MLB, using a slightly different methodology, calculated the average at $3,579,341.

An Associated Press study found that this year’s opening day average was up 5.9% to $4.4 million, using expanded opening day listings and midpoints for players remaining in arbitration. The average decreases over the course of a season as veterans are released and replaced by younger players with lower salaries.

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