The San Francisco Giants are now champions of the National League West for the second time in three years. The hard work of getting to the Fall Classic and winning another World Series is all that stands between autumn and free agency this winter.
Time flies when you are having fun, and excitement has been the norm at AT&T Park in recent seasons. Plus, speculation about the future, no matter how far off it remains, is always exciting.
Before taking a look at the Giants' financial situation for 2013, let's take a look at the growth of their payroll in recent seasons.
The Giants payroll hovered between $82-$90 million from 2003-2009, though it dipped down to $76 million during the first season without cash cow Barry Bonds on the roster during the miserable 2008 season. Since then, payroll has gone back up to $82 million in 2009, $96 million in 2010, $118 million last season and $131 million this season.
Thus, projecting an increase in payroll of between $13 million and $22 million would make sense given the growth of the payroll during the past few seasons.
Also, revenue from cable contracts keeps pouring into Major League Baseball's coffers. According to the New York Times, new contracts with FOX, ESPN and TBS will boost annual payments to MLB from a current amount of $750 million to $1.55 billion.
Since revenue is shared, every team should be able to boost payroll significantly in the coming years.
One caveat for the Giants is that their ballpark was privately financed rather than built on the backs of the taxpayers like most other stadiums in American sports. Thus, they also have an expensive mortgage to account for.
With that said, the Giants payroll remains to be in good shape.
Though Aaron Rowand, Freddy Sanchez, Aubrey Huff (minus a two million dollar buyout), Jeremy Affeldt and Melky Cabrera are coming off the books, arbitration raises for players with between three and six years of service time, and salary increases to players under contract will eat up most of those savings.
I've estimated arbitration raises for Hunter Pence, Buster Posey (potentially eligible for arbitration next season), Joaquin Arias, Gregor Blanco, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla and Jose Mijares; those are my guesses.
I'm also guessing that the Giants will bring Brian Wilson back next season on an incentive-based contract with a base salary of $5 million.
Players who will have between zero and three years of service time entering next season are not arbitration eligible, so I will put their salaries at $500,000, slightly above the league minimum. All other contract information comes from Baseball Prospectus' Cot's Baseball Contracts.
Angel Pagan, Melky Cabrera, Marco Scutaro, Ryan Theriot, Xavier Nady, Jeremy Affeldt, Clay Hensley, Guillermo Mota and Aubrey Huff are all eligible for free agency after this season.