Projecting How Much Payroll All 30 MLB Teams Still Have to Spend Entering 2013

Doug MeadCorrespondent IDecember 28, 2012

Projecting How Much Payroll All 30 MLB Teams Still Have to Spend Entering 2013

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    When projecting payroll for MLB teams for the 2013 season, it's important to understand a variety of factors.

    Attendance, TV contracts, size of market and other conditions help to dictate payroll for each team. In some cases, it can be a matter of owner preference, as well—in other words, what they're willing to spend.

    Based on last year's Opening Day payroll for each team and money already committed for the 2013 season, each team's wiggle room in terms of what's left for player salaries is quite different.

    Here's an idea of what each team has left in the coffers to spend before Opening Day 2013.

     

    Note: All payroll figures courtesy of Cot's Contracts unless otherwise noted. Committed payroll for 2013 does not include pre-arbitration or arbitration-eligible players.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $75.4 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $68.55 million

    The Arizona Diamondbacks have been one of the more active teams this offseason.

    Thus far the Diamondbacks have added outfielder Cody Ross, starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy, utility man Eric Hinske and third baseman Eric Chavez. They took on reliever Heath Bell and his large contract, but the Miami Marlins also ponied up $8 million to be paid over two seasons.

    Gone is the $8.5 million contract for center fielder Chris Young.

    Given the current glut of outfielders for Arizona (Ross, Gerardo Parra, Adam Eaton, Justin Upton, Jason Kubel, A.J. Pollock), there's a strong likelihood that general manager Kevin Towers isn't quite done wheeling and dealing.

    In terms of salary, however, there is little to no wiggle room left. After taking care of pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players, the Diamondbacks will be well over last year's payroll if no other moves are made.

    Money Left to Spend: None

Atlanta Braves

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $93.5 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $56.2 million

    The Atlanta Braves haven't been all that active this offseason. They did, however, make a $75.25 million investment with the acquisition of center fielder B.J. Upton.

    The Braves still have to resolve salaries for players under team control, including Martin Prado, Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters and several others.

    Money Left to Spend: $15 million

    Is it likely the Braves will spend another $15 million? No.

    Left field still remains a question. The original plan was for Prado to replace the retiring Chipper Jones at third base and find another option for left. However, Juan Francisco is producing in Winter League ball and could be an option, meaning Prado would remain in left field.

    Given how the Braves have managed their budget over the past few years, don't expect another major signing at this point.

Baltimore Orioles

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $84.1 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $54.8 million

    The Baltimore Orioles have added some pieces to a team that made the playoffs for the first time in 15 years last season.

    Gone is Mark Reynolds, but Nate McLouth was re-signed, and infielder Alexi Casilla was claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins.

    After taking care of commitments to pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players, the O's will still have wiggle room in the payroll.

    Money Left to Spend: $15 million

    Starting pitcher Joe Saunders is still out there, and the Orioles are still talking with the southpaw.

    According to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, the Orioles have interest in free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche, as well. However, they're unwilling to give up a draft pick to sign him at this point.

Boston Red Sox

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $175.2 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $111.95 million

    The Boston Red Sox cleared a ton of payroll with just one trade last season, giving themselves flexibility for 2013 and beyond.

    They have already taken advantage of that flexibility with the signings of Shane Victorino, David Ross, Stephen Drew, Ryan Dempster, Koji Uehara and Jonny Gomes.

    The flexibility also allowed them to trade for closer Joel Hanrahan, as well.

    With Mike Napoli's status nothing close to a sure thing, the Red Sox likely aren't done yet this offseason.

    Money Left to Spend: $30 million

    Even after taking care of commitments for pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players, the Sox clearly have wiggle room to continue addressing roster needs.

    The Red Sox could be after Adam LaRoche if the Napoli deal falls through.

Chicago Cubs

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $109.3 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $78.9 million

    With the addition of free-agent pitcher Edwin Jackson, the Chicago Cubs added a considerable chunk of change to their 2013 payroll.

    The committed figure also doesn't take into consideration arbitration-eligible players Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija, which could add another $15 million or so to the coffers.

    Money Left to Spend: $5-$10 million

    After committing salary money to pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players, the Cubs won't have much left. Considering Theo Epstein's long-range plan, they won't spend foolishly for the short-term.

Chicago White Sox

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $97.7 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $100.7 million

    The Chicago White Sox have already exceeded last year's Opening Day payroll without yet committing dollars to pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players.

    With $89.95 million committed to 10 players even before making any transactions, the White Sox were hamstrung to a degree.

    Money Left to Spend: None

    It would be a stretch to think at this point that the Sox would add additional payroll. Adding salary for players still under team control will put them at about $20 million above last year's payroll as it is.

Cincinnati Reds

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $87.8 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $68.75 million

    The Cincinnati Reds return with a team largely intact and ready to defend their NL Central Division title.

    Re-signing both Ryan Ludwick and Jonathan Broxton were the biggest transactions, and adding outfielder Shin-Soo Choo as a leadoff option was a big plus, as well.

    The Reds also added infielder Jack Hannahan to back up Todd Frazier at third base.

    Money Left to Spend: $5 million

    After taking care of arbitration-eligible players—including Choo—the Reds will be at or near last year's payroll level. While other deals could be made—the Reds are reportedly one team interested in free-agent pitcher Freddy Garcia—they appear ready to do battle in 2013 with the current roster.

Cleveland Indians

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $65.4 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $35.1 million

    The Cleveland Indians have made strides to improve on a roster that lost 94 games last season. However, they have largely done so without a huge bump in payroll at this point.

    The addition of Nick Swisher cost the Indians just $11 million in 2013, and contracts for Derek Lowe, Casey Kotchman, Johnny Damon and Roberto Hernandez came off the books, as well.

    Money Left to Spend: $10 million

    The Tribe still has arbitration-eligible players such as Chris Perez and Justin Masterson to take care of. However, even with those contracts resolved, the Indians should come in somewhat below last season's payroll.

    Considering their terrible attendance figures at Progressive Field last season, that's not a bad thing at this point.

    Don't look for the Dolan family to commit themselves to anything beyond last year's numbers.

Colorado Rockies

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $81.1 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $55.5 million

    The Colorado Rockies are coming off their worst season in franchise history. Other than signing Jeff Francis for $1.55 million, the Rockies have little to show for their offseason thus far.

    While there has been speculation about the status of center fielder Dexter Fowler, Rockies general manager Bill Geivett has said it would take a considerable return package for them to consider dealing away Fowler at this point.

    Money Left to Spend: $12-$15 million

    The Rockies have a little flexibility, but they haven't been players at all for any player of value, save for reliever Mike Adams. They have shown interest in both Freddy Garcia and Jeff Karstens as they look to upgrade a pitching staff that had by far the worst ERA in all of baseball.

    In all likelihood, the Rockies' payroll will be significantly lower in 2013, largely because they would have to overpay to get any kind of decent pitching help after what was seen last year at Coors Field.

Detroit Tigers

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $133.47 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $119.1 million

    When all is said and done, the Detroit Tigers' payroll in 2013 will exceed last season.

    After signing arbitration-eligible players such as Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer, Alex Avila and Austin Jackson, the Tigers will already be close to last year's figure without raises for other players under team control.

    The additions of Torii Hunter and Anibal Sanchez have certainly helped the roster but also added $20 million to the 2013 expense sheet.

    Money Left to Spend: ?

    While payroll next season will no doubt be higher, owner Mike Ilitch could still surprise, especially if he wants to pay for an experienced closer like Rafael Soriano. Highly doubtful at this point, however.

Houston Astros

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $60.8 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $10.75 million

    Yes, you read correctly—the Houston Astros have very little money currently committed.

    That shouldn't be a shock considering that most of their roster is comprised of players who aren't even arbitration-eligible yet.

    Money Left to Spend: $30 million

    Even after committing to pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players, the Astros will have some cash to spend. Thus far, the biggest splash they've made this offseason was signing first baseman Carlos Pena to a one-year, $2.9 million contract. Reliever Jose Veras was signed to a one-year, $2 million contract, as well.

    That actually makes them the two highest-paid players on the roster.

    It's still possible that former Astro Lance Berkman could be in the mix. The two sides agreed to wait until mid-January before reaching out to each other again.

    Even with a Berkman signing, the Astros will in all likelihood sport the lowest payroll of any team by a fairly wide margin.

    Well, with the possible exception of the Miami Marlins. We'll get to them later.

    This is an Astros team built on a "save it for later" mentality. General manager Jeff Luhnow simply won't spend money just to pick up a few wins that won't mean much in 2013.

    Just because money may be available, don't expect a spending spree. The talent for the Astros clearly lies in the future, and they'll work toward that goal while being frugal now.

Kansas City Royals

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $64 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $65.85 million

    Even without raises for pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players, the Kansas City Royals have already exceeded last year's payroll.

    Owner David Glass kept to his word—he said earlier this year he would spend to acquire pitching, and he has certainly done that.

    The additions of Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, James Shields and Wade Davis should give Royals fans hope that the team can actually contend in the AL Central for the first time since 1994.

    Money Left to Spend: None

    The Royals still have to take care of raises for pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players, so payroll will be significantly higher than last year.

Los Angeles Angels

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $151.4 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $132.3 million

    After all is said and done, the Los Angeles Angels payroll for next season will be higher. After taking care of raises for pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players, the Angels are looking at close to $165 million.

    Money Left to Spend: None

    After spending $125 million to land free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, don't expect Angels owner Arte Moreno to approve much of anything else. He already has to eat $21 million for outfielder Vernon Wells—unless Wells morphs into superstar mode, which no one is expecting at this point.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $105.4 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $209.1 million

    The Los Angeles Dodgers not only easily doubled last year's payroll, they will likely set the record for the highest single-season payroll in MLB history.

    Now that's sending a message.

    Money Left to Spend: ?

    Considering what the Dodgers have already done, it's almost impossible to say what they actually have left to spend.

    Last month, Dodgers president Stan Kasten said the team will worry about payroll after they're done assembling their team.

    I won't even hazard a guess as to whether or not that time has come.

Miami Marlins

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $101.6 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $32.05 million

    Welcome to the new-look Miami Marlins.

    Wait a minute—I'll bet you've heard that line before.

    After shattering previous team payroll records last season, the 2013 version of the Marlins is likely to come in at somewhere around the 2010 payroll mark ($47.4 million).

    Money Left to Spend: $50 million

    It's clear the Marlins have the money—they were certainly willing to spend it last season.

    But they obviously reserve the right to change their minds. And in turn, further anger a local fanbase that's seen all of this before.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $98.15 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $53.3 million

    The Milwaukee Brewers shaved nearly $43 million off last season's payroll with the departures of Zack Greinke, Randy Wolf, Shaun Marcum, Alex Gonzalez and Francisco Rodriguez.

    Money Left to Spend: None

    After commitments are made to pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players, the Brewers payroll will be somewhere around $75-$80 million. That represents a significant decrease from last year.

    Don't expect the Brewers to spend at all.

    According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

    Looking for a second consecutive division crown, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio stretched his payroll to a franchise-record $100 million in 2012. He lost that gamble when the team sputtered at midseason and dropped from the playoff race. Despite a late push by the Brewers, attendance dropped from 3.07 million to 2.83 million, and the Brewers finished well in the red for the year.

    Those financial losses prompted Attanasio to lower his budget significantly for 2013. Melvin said he expected the team’s payroll to be about $80 million or slightly above, depending on what personnel opportunities arise.

    In addition, the Brewers have one of the worst TV contracts in baseball. The combination of that plus lower attendance plus being in a smaller market just doesn't bode well for financial opportunity.

Minnesota Twins

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $100.4 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $64.3 million

    The Minnesota Twins unloaded some hefty contracts at the end of the season. Carl Pavano, Matt Capps, Scott Baker, Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Jason Marquis represent a savings of $25.75 million.

    However, the Twins also saw a decline in attendance at Target Field for the second straight season. Lost revenue usually doesn't equate to higher payroll levels.

    Money to Spend: $10-$15 million

    The Twins don't have big money to shell out for pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players, so they could be looking at roughly $80 million after those commitments.

    They've already added Vance Worley, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey for the starting rotation and could spend to bring in more pitching.

    However, general manager Terry Ryan simply won't overpay to get what he wants, so expect payroll in 2013 to be lower.

    According to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

    Indications are that they are not going to hand out the two-year deal for $14-15 million that has become the rage this offseason (see Brandon McCarthy, Joe Blanton and Francisco Liriano).  They will let Joe Saunders walk if that is the case. Same for Brett Myers and Shawn Marcum (there are health issues with Marcum too).

    But if the offseason continues and the those pitchers remain unsigned, the Twins will take a harder look at them if they lower their demands. Despite having money to spend (they could open the season with a payroll in the low $80M range) they are not going to pay what they think is too much for average pitching.

New York Mets

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $94.5 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $57 million

    The New York Mets currently have $52 million committed to payroll for the 2013 season. However, they still owe departed outfielder Jason Bay $21 million. Since the exact terms of the negotiated release are unclear, we're assuming a hit of $5 million for the 2013 season.

    It would certainly appear that the Mets have some leeway even after settling up with pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players.

    Money Left to Spend: $10 million

    There won't be that much leeway, though. If there were, players like Josh Hamilton would have been in the mix.

    The Mets drew just 1.6 million fans to Citi Field last year, an atrocious number given the market. In addition, ownership is still strapped financially, and general manager Sandy Alderson is left to try rebuilding with a blend of youth and affordable veterans.

New York Yankees

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $209.8 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $176.85 million

    The New York Yankees will start the 2013 season under last year's Opening Day payroll, but not by much.

    The added expense of $12 million to cover third base with Kevin Youkilis in the absence of Alex Rodriguez didn't help matters. However, quite a few contracts could come off the books before the start of the 2014 season, so the plan to get under the luxury tax threshold by then may not necessarily be in jeopardy.

    Money Left to Spend: None

    I can't imagine that managing partner Hal Steinbrenner will be anxious to spend any more money at this point.

Oakland Athletics

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $52.9 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $42.3 million

    With the second-lowest payroll in baseball last season, the Oakland A's were the surprise winners of the AL West Division.

    Jonny Gomes, Brandon McCarthy and Stephen Drew are gone, but Chris Young, Hiroyuki Nakajima and Travis Blackley have been added to help fill the void.

    Money Left to Spend: None

    The A's will be over last year's payroll after committing to pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players. Considering the team's youth and their success last season, general manager Billy Beane is likely to stay the current course.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $172.1 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $149.7 million

    The Philadelphia Phillies will be dangerously close to the luxury tax threshold next season ($178 million) after committing money to pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players.

    The additions of Ben Revere, Michael Young, Mike Adams and John Lannan helped general manager Rubén Amaro Jr. complete his offseason shopping list. However, it was last year's core of players that give the Phillies little wiggle room in terms of avoiding the tax.

    Money Left to Spend: $5 million

    Amaro has not been told he needs to stay under the tax, but if he intends to, the wiggle room is minute.

    "I haven't been given any ultimatums as far as [the luxury tax] is concerned, but there is a limit to where we want to be right now," Amaro said. "I also think it's important to give ourselves a little flexibility for the trade deadline in case we want to do some things there, too. Not just dollar-wise, but personnel-wise, too. We're looking at all possibilities to improve the club, and if we can do it and we think it's the right thing to do, we'll move on it."

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $51.9 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $44.45 million

    The Pittsburgh Pirates remain committed to putting a competitive product on the field despite financial disadvantages.

    They added Russell Martin and Francisco Liriano and re-signed reliever Jason Grilli, who will now take over the closer's role following the departure of Joel Hanrahan.

    Money Left to Spend: None

    After commitments to players under team control via the arbitration process, the Pirates will be well over last year's payroll.

    In fact, the total payroll will be the highest in franchise history.

San Diego Padres

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $55.6 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $30.4 million

    The San Diego Padres have new ownership in place, but they haven't used new money to drastically increase payroll at this point.

    In fact, the Padres have been one of the least active teams this offseason. That very well could be by design.

    Money Left to Spend: $30 million

    The money is there, but general manager Josh Byrnes isn't going to spend it just for the sake of spending it. Byrnes firmly believes in building from within.

    “Tampa has done it a few years,'' he said. “Baltimore and Oakland did it last year, and look how we played at the end. You can win games.

    “Obviously, our roster is different and it doesn't have the resumes of others. That is the way (the Dodgers) are putting their team together and we are going to do it differently.''

San Francisco Giants

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $131.3 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $102.2 million

    The San Francisco Giants return a team largely intact and ready to defend its World Series championship.

    Jeremy Affeldt, Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro were all retained in an effort to make another run in 2013.

    Money Left to Spend: $10 million

    The Giants still have to sign arbitration-eligible players Hunter Pence and Sergio Romo along with others, so they'll likely surpass last year's payroll. Still, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for GM Brian Sabean to continue tweaking his roster.

Seattle Mariners

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $84.9 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $50.95 million

    The Seattle Mariners have added Kendrys Morales, Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez in an effort to support an offense that's finished last in runs scored for the past four seasons in the American League.

    Money Left to Spend: $20-$25 million

    The Mariners definitely have some wiggle room with payroll. After arbitration-eligible players are signed, the Mariners are looking at a total payroll figure similar to last year.

    Money is there, and the Mariners could spend it. However, with attendance down 50 percent at Safeco Field since 2002. it's a stretch to think that payroll will see a significant rise.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $111.86 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $95 million

    Even without major additions, the St. Louis Cardinals will surpass last season's payroll. Raises for arbitration-eligible players will put them over the $115 million mark.

    Money to Spend: None

    The Cardinals are ready to do battle with the current roster. GM John Mozeliak wasn't looking for any major moves, and he certainly stayed the course this offseason.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $63.6 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $30.3 million

    The Tampa Bay Rays jettisoned quite a bit of salary with the departures of Luke Scott, Carlos Pena, James Shields and B.J. Upton. Barring any other changes, they'll definitely come in under last year's total payroll figure.

    Money Left to Spend: $10 million

    Cy Young Award winner David Price will definitely get a nice raise this offseason in arbitration, and other arbitration-eligible players will see a nice raise, as well.

    However, the financial climate hasn't changed much in Tampa Bay, so GM Andrew Friedman won't be seen going after the likes of Michael Bourn anytime soon.

Texas Rangers

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $120.8 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $92.5 million

    The Texas Rangers will likely be over the $110 million mark after signing players under team control.

    Money Left to Spend: $30 million

    There's no question the money is there for Texas. They made a major push for free-agent starting pitcher Zack Greinke before the Los Angeles Dodgers swooped in. Cash was there to re-sign Josh Hamilton, as well.

    It's possible the Rangers could make a play for Michael Bourn. Adam LaRoche could interest the Rangers, as well, if the Washington Nationals fail in their efforts to re-sign him.

    However, Jim Bowden of ESPN tweeted that the Rangers are not interested in giving up a draft pick for LaRoche and aren't willing to offer a long-term deal.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $83.74 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $98.4 million

    The Toronto Blue Jays have transformed their roster—from top to bottom.

    As a result, they will have a payroll that tops $100 million for the first time in franchise history.

    Money Left to Spend: None

    After signing pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players, the Blue Jays will be approaching $120 million.

Washington Nationals

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    2012 Opening Day Payroll: $92.5 million

    2013 Committed Payroll: $77.5 million

    The Washington Nationals return a roster ready to defend their NL East Division title with just a couple of tweaks.

    Gone is Edwin Jackson—in his place is Dan Haren.

    Newcomer Denard Span adds to an outfield already featuring Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Michael Morse.

    Money Left to Spend: $15 million

    The Nationals have yet to re-sign first baseman Adam LaRoche, and would like that situation resolved sooner rather than later. Morse could then be used as a trade chip, possibly to add a left-handed reliever and/or prospects.

    If LaRoche is added and Morse is subtracted, the money left to spend would drop considerably.

     

    Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.