Dodgers: Payroll Facts, Concerns, & Outlook Heading Into The Offseason

The Dodgers approach the offseason with a goal of defending their 2020 World Series Championship. Unlike the previous seasons that have ended in disappointment, the Dodgers found the right mix when they went beyond the luxury tax penalties and traded for Mookie Betts. The Dodgers were anywhere from $15-$19M over the lower luxury tax penalties (we discuss those penalties soon) but the price sure seemed worth it.

The Luxury Tax

This summary is extracted from our Payroll Page:

  • The thresholds for being taxed for the duration of the CBA are:
    • 2020: $208 million (which they exceeded)
    • 2021: $210 million
  • There are various penalties for exceeding the CBT that begin at 20%. The number changes based on the number of consecutive years the threshold is exceeded.
  • The penalties reset when a team stays under the threshold.
  • A team that exceeds the threshold by $40 million or more are penalized in the draft. A team not in the top 6 of the draft will have their first pick moved back 10 spots.
  • Penalties are calculated based on the Average Annual Value (AAV) of a multi-year contract.

The penalties for the Dodgers in 2020 have not been determined but it is their first time back over which keeps the penalties small. If they exceed the lower threshold of $210M in 2021 then the penalties get a bit worse financially. If they go over $250M then they will get penalized in the draft also.

Guaranteed 2021 Salaries

The players below have signed multi-year contracts and are guaranteed certain amounts of money. What we are doing in this article is using the average of their contract over the years. Some contracts pay more money in different years.

Player 2021
Betts, Mookie $25,600,000
Jansen, Kenley $16,000,000
Kelly, Joe $8,333,333
Kershaw, Clayton $31,000,000
Muncy, Max $8,666,667
Pollock, AJ $12,000,000
Price, David $31,000,000
Taylor, Chris $6,700,000
Total $139,300,000

NOTE: The Red Sox are paying $16M per year for Price's contract. We take that into account in our final totals in a later section.

Not included are any of the Dodgers free agents. The free agents are Justin Turner, Blake Treinen, Joc Pederson, Kiké Hernandez, Pedro Baez, Alex Wood, Jake McGee, and Jimmy Nelson. If the Dodgers bring back any of these players then their salary would be added to the $139.3M.

Arbitration Eligibles

</p><div class=