Dodgers Team News

Dodgers: Why Team Expert Thinks LA Might Cut Payroll This Offseason

The Dodgers had the second-highest payroll in baseball in 2022, coming in just below the highest luxury tax threshold. While they still have some big salaries on the roster for 2023, as of right now their projected payroll is quite a bit lower.

Dodgers insider David Vassegh was on AM570’s Petros & Money show last week, and he thinks Los Angeles might seize an opportunity to dip below the lowest luxury tax number for a season.

“The Dodgers more than likely at some point in time in the couple of years here have to reset themselves under the luxury tax and this year would be that opportune free agency (period).”

Right now, the Dodgers are estimated at just below $188 million for next year, $45 million below the first luxury tax number. That’s not an exact number because it’s based on estimates for arbitration salaries, so it could go up or down a bit. It could go down a lot if L.A. decides not to tender a contract to struggling center-fielder Cody Bellinger or to negotiate a lower-dollar deal with him, with similar calculus in deciding whether to exercise Justin Turner’s option.

The reason to drop below the first tax threshold for one year is that luxury tax penalties escalate based on how many consecutive years a team has been over. The Dodgers would be in the highest escalator if they go over again in 2023, meaning they’d pay a 50 percent tax on any overage, whereas a first-time offender would pay just 20 percent. Dropping below the threshold for a year would put them back to first-time status if they were to go over in 2024, dropping them back to the 20 percent base tax rate.

That said, it’s not as easy as just deciding to go under the threshold. Right at this moment, Los Angeles is without a starting shortstop and missing a couple starting pitchers, and they’re likely to make some noise in both the trade and free agent markets. But it could make sense for them to take advantage of their current payroll situation and reset that luxury tax with one slightly lower year.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.


  1. All or some of Bauer’s salary could come back on the books if the arbitrator decreases his suspension, its crazy that this thing is still not fully resolved.

  2. Ok then have to let both turners go along with Kershaw who’s not full time player anymore . Still have Julio, Gonzo and May resign Tyler and bring up Miller and Vargas still competitive team to make playoffs as wild card anyways that’s alright with ownership cause with these Bozos (friedman&roberts) with team full of starts they’ll find ways to mess it up year after year. Astros champions with less than half talent dodgers have but they have real baseball manager not some dum analyticsl nerds

  3. This could be done. No to Bellinger, Trea, Justin Turner, lose Tyler Anderson and Heaney. No to expensive free agents. Promote from AAA. Four starters are possible – Bobby Miller, Gavin Stone, Pepiot and Grove. Two outfielders — Jason Martin, Outman. Infielders Miguel Vargas and Michael Busch. 8 AAA players to work with to fill the holes.

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