A few weeks ago, we heard that one of the reasons the Dodgers were being cautious with their spending this offseason was uncertainty over whether they’d have to pay Trevor Bauer in 2023. On Thursday evening, we finally got the news that, yes, Los Angeles will be on the hook for most of Bauer’s salary next year, as his suspension was reduced to 194 games, AKA “time served.”
The 194 games cover the 144 games he missed in 2022 after being suspended. The other 50 games are more confusing, as they cover 50 of the games when he was on administrative leave prior to the suspension, but the pay will be docked for the first 50 games of 2023. So Los Angeles will only be on the hook for 69.1% of his salary next year.
If my calculations are correct, Trevor Bauer getting docked 50 games of pay would reduce his $32 million salary by 31%. So #Dodgers would owe him $22 million, with $23.5 million going toward CBT payroll. That would bring them to $232.3 million, just under $233-million threshold.
— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) December 23, 2022
The Dodgers will save roughly $9.87 million on Bauer’s salary next year. Bauer’s number for luxury tax purposes is $34 million (the average annual value of his three-year, $102 million contract), and when you drop the 30.9% off of that, that’s where DiGiovanna gets the number of $23.5 million. (It’s probably actually $23,506,173 or so.)
While DiGiovanna is correct about that putting L.A. just $0.7 million under the luxury tax, those numbers are just estimates right now based on what players are projected to make in arbitration. And the luxury tax numbers can go up or down throughout the season as they add or remove players.
The Dodgers could try to trade Bauer, which might save them a little money. There was a report that the Pirates might be interested in Bauer if L.A. released him, and a team like Pittsburgh might be willing to make a trade knowing their chances of signing him as a free agent are lower. But Los Angeles would likely have to pay most of Bauer’s salary even in a trade, so the savings would be minimal.
As it stands, the Dodgers are at a crossroads. They still have holes on their roster, but if they’re intent on staying under the luxury tax, they don’t really have any room to make additions without making corresponding subtractions. So either they stand pat, or they abandon the idea of getting under the luxury tax and try again next year or the year after.
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