Projecting All 30 MLB Teams' Maximum Payroll This Offseason

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2013

Projecting All 30 MLB Teams' Maximum Payroll This Offseason

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    We are nearly a month into the MLB offseason, and while a number of players have already found their way onto new rosters for 2014, there is still a ton to be done between now and the start of spring training.

    For small-market teams, it's all about making the most of their limited funds, while big-market teams have the luxury-tax threshold to worry about should they decide to go on a spending spree.

    What follows is a closer look at each team's current payroll situation and how much flexibility they have to work with for the remainder of the offseason.

    Included is a look at where each team's payroll stood on Opening Day the past five years, courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts, the amount of money they have committed to players under contract, courtesy of, and a projected figure for what they will spend on arbitration-eligible players, courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors.

    From there, I've done my best to pinpoint the max number each team is likely to allow their payroll to climb to by Opening Day of the 2014 season, based on remaining needs and previous payroll history.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    2B Aaron Hill ($11,000,000)
    2B Aaron Hill ($11,000,000)Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$79,725,000
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$14,600,000

    According to Diamondbacks GM Ken Kendrick, via Kyle Payne of Arizona Sports, the Diamondbacks' payroll could reach an all-time high this coming season, surpassing the $103 million that the 2002 team earned:

    We're at a place now where this year's payroll is likely to be at or maybe above the highest amount of money ever spent on a Diamondback team in its history. We need to be smarter than the guy that spends more money than we, and, over time, we have been.

    Even if that is the case, the team does not have a ton of money to work with when you factor in the pre-arbitration players making the league minimum. The team could look to make a play on the trade market to add a power bat, but a splash signing does not seem likely.

    Projected Max Payroll: $105 million

Atlanta Braves

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    LF Justin Upton ($14,458,333)
    LF Justin Upton ($14,458,333)Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$44,983,333
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$38,250,000

    The Braves have just five guaranteed contracts for next season, with the Upton brothers and Dan Uggla set to make a combined $41.7 million, but a large portion of the Braves' young core becomes arbitration eligible this offseason. 

    Craig Kimbrel, Kris Medlen, Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward headline a 13-player crop of arbitration-eligible players that will nearly double the team's payroll once they're all signed for 2014. The team could also look to extend one or two of those guys, which would push its payroll even higher.

    As for further moves, the team could still look to sign a veteran starter to replace Tim Hudson in the rotation and would certainly be open to cutting ties with Uggla if the opportunity presented itself. In the end, though, chances are their team payroll will be similar to what it's been the past three years.

    Projected Max Payroll: $95 million

Baltimore Orioles

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    RF Nick Markakis ($15,300,000)
    RF Nick Markakis ($15,300,000)Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$50,900,333
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$43,100,000

    With Jim Johnson ($10.8 million), Chris Davis ($10 million) and Matt Wieters ($7.9 million) all expected to receive substantial raises in arbitration, the Orioles don't have much salary room to work with at this point. Despite that, they seem to be in the market for at least one top free agent in Carlos Beltran, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal:

    Sources: #Orioles interested in Beltran. Pursuit may hinge on team clearing Wieters or another high-salaried player.

    — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 15, 2013

    Aside from its pursuit of Beltran, the team could also look to add another starter and will need to figure out both second base and left field. As the team looks to keep pace in the ultracompetitive AL East, a payroll north of $100 million may be inevitable.

    Projected Max Payroll: $105 million

Boston Red Sox

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    SP John Lackey ($15,950,000)
    SP John Lackey ($15,950,000)Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$121,914,000
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$10,400,000

    The Red Sox were as active on the free-agent market as any team in baseball last season, but thanks to their megadeal with the Dodgers the previous August, they wound up with a payroll of over $20 million less than the previous season.

    The only real limitation for the Red Sox financially is the $189 million luxury-tax threshold, which they likely won't want to eclipse, but without any glaring needs it's unlikely that they'll add $50 million-plus in 2014 salaries.

    Re-signing Mike Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia both appear to be likely moves, and will likely cost around $25 million combined for the 2014 season. Beyond that, the team could look to add another bullpen arm and perhaps an outfield bat to provide some insurance in center field.

    Projected Max Payroll: $170 million

Chicago Cubs

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    SP Edwin Jackson ($13,000,000)
    SP Edwin Jackson ($13,000,000)Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$48,259,523
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$22,162,500

    The Cubs have done a great job shedding payroll since Theo Epstein and company took office, and entering the 2014 season, Edwin Jackson ($13 million) is the only player on the roster with a salary north of $6 million.

    They are still on the hook for $13 million of the $18 million Alfonso Soriano will earn in 2014, but overall the team is in a great position to spend in free agency. The question now is when they will do that, as they figure to be in for another long year in 2014 before their impressive farm system starts to make an impact.

    Looking to the future, front-line pitching is their biggest need, but chances are they will look for more midlevel veterans to fill out the roster and then potentially flip at the deadline this offseason, with an eye on making a splash next winter.

    Projected Max Payroll: $85 million

Chicago White Sox

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    SP John Danks ($15,750,000)
    SP John Danks ($15,750,000)Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$60,416,666
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$12,300,000

    The White Sox sold aggressively at the deadline this past season, dealing two of their biggest contracts in Jake Peavy and Alex Rios, along with relievers Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton. As they continue to restock and rebuild, more moves and salary shedding could be in the cards.

    That said, they did pull the trigger on a big signing when they added Cuban defector Jose Abreu on a six-year, $68 million deal to replace Paul Konerko at first base, and they certainly have the payroll room to make another big addition if they viewed someone as a good fit to build around.

    Regardless of what they do the remainder of the offseason, it's a safe bet that their payroll will be under the $100 million mark. White Sox fans could be in for another long season in 2014, but the team is taking some necessary steps to get back on track long term.

    Projected Max Payroll: $90 million

Cincinnati Reds

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    1B Joey Votto ($12,000,000)
    1B Joey Votto ($12,000,000)David Maxwell/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$85,599,999
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$28,100,000

    The Reds' payroll has increased each of the past five seasons, reaching a franchise-high $106.8 million last year, and even without any further additions and factoring in players making the league-minimum they project to be over that mark in 2014.

    As a result, they are not likely to do much the remainder of the offseason unless can find a way to unload Brandon Phillips and the $50 million remaining on his contract over the next four years. They will likely also look to move catcher Ryan Hanigan after signing Brayan Pena to back up Devin Mesoraco.

    When to lock up Mat Latos long term and whether to re-sign or trade Homer Bailey will be the team's two biggest decisions moving forward, but don't expect the Reds to add much more, if any, in the way of additional salaries to the payroll.

    Projected Max Payroll: $118 million

Cleveland Indians

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    1B/RF Nick Swisher ($15,000,000)
    1B/RF Nick Swisher ($15,000,000)Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$55,633,334
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$23,400,000

    The surprise playoff team of 2013, the Indians have their work cut out for them if they hope to return to the postseason this coming year. Key starters Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir are both expected to sign elsewhere, and even without them the team's payroll figures to exceed last year's just on player raises alone.

    As top prospect Francisco Lindor moves ever closer to the big leagues, dealing Asdrubal Cabrera, who makes $10 million in the final year of his contract, could be an option, but that move likely wouldn't come until midseason.

    Aside from figuring out their rotation sans Jimenez and Kazmir, they will need to address the back end of the bullpen after releasing closer Chris Perez and losing top setup man Joe Smith in free agency. They could also look to add another bat at either first base or in right field. They remain a relatively small market, though, and exceeding $100 million seems unlikely.

    Projected Max Payroll: $95 million

Colorado Rockies

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    SS Troy Tulowitzki ($16,000,000)
    SS Troy Tulowitzki ($16,000,000)Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$67,628,571
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$9,000,000

    The Rockies have some holes to fill this offseason, with the most notable being replacing the retired Todd Helton at first base. How the team goes about that remains to be seen, as it could slide either catcher Wilin Rosario or right fielder Michael Cuddyer over to first and look for a replacement for them, or it could simply sign a first baseman.

    LaTroy Hawkins was already signed to bolster the back end of the bullpen, and signing a right-handed setup man to work alongside Rex Brothers could further solidify the 'pen.

    The team appears ready to add to its payroll as it looks to avoid another last-place finish, and with a few more major additions and factoring in the league-minimum players, a payroll over $90 million is a very real possibility.

    Projected Max Payroll: $95 million

Detroit Tigers

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    3B Miguel Cabrera ($22,000,000)
    3B Miguel Cabrera ($22,000,000)Al Bello/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$101,850,000
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$42,600,000

    The Tigers pulled the trigger on the biggest deal of the offseason so far, sending Prince Fielder and $30 million of the $168 million remaining on his contact to the Rangers for Ian Kinsler. The Rangers will pay his full $24 million salary each of the next two seasons before receiving $6 million each of the next five years.

    That gives them an $8 million net gain toward the payroll this year, with Kinsler earning $16 million. However, they will need to try to re-sign Max Scherzer at the end of this season and Doug Fister the following offseason, so any payroll room freed will likely go toward locking up the pitching staff.

    Finding a closer and either re-signing Omar Infante or finding a replacement for him at second base remain on the offseason to-do list, so even without making another big move the payroll will climb some.

    Projected Max Payroll: $160 million

Houston Astros

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    2B Jose Altuve ($1,437,500)
    2B Jose Altuve ($1,437,500)Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$9,937,500
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$2,900,000

    The highest-paid player on the Astros' payroll this coming season currently projects to be wearing a Pirates uniform, as the team is still on the hook for $5.5 million of Wandy Rodriguez's contract. However, that could change as the offseason progresses, as they appear ready to add some payroll after slashing it the past three years, according to Brian McTaggart of

    (GM Jim) Crane said the Astros’ payroll, which was at about $13 million to end the season, could be between $50-60 million next year regardless whether the club is able to settle its disagreement with Comcast. 

    Adding a veteran starting pitcher in the mold of last year's Erik Bedard signing would make sense, and Houston could be an appealing destination for veterans looking to prove themselves on a one-year deal, but a major signing still seems unlikely even given how much payroll it apparently has to work with.

    Projected Max Payroll: $45 million

Kansas City Royals

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    SP James Shields ($12,000,000)
    SP James Shields ($12,000,000)Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$59,930,000
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$27,550,000

    The Royals added roughly $17 million to their payroll last season when all was said and done, with the biggest additions coming in the form of right-handers James Shields and Ervin Santana atop the rotation.

    Now, despite the likely departure of Santana in free agency, the team's payroll is already in position to be even higher, as its young core continues to get more expensive in their arbitration years and with the addition of left-hander Jason Vargas on a four-year, $32 million deal.

    The trade market appears to be their most likely focus the rest of the offseason, as they have some attractive bullpen trade chips they could use to upgrade in either right field or at second base. After making a strong last-season push, this will be a big year for the franchise, as it looks to justify last year's blockbuster deal to acquire Shields with a postseason trip.

    Projected Max Payroll: $95 million

Los Angeles Angels

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    1B Albert Pujols ($23,000,000)
    1B Albert Pujols ($23,000,000)Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$131,750,000
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$20,500,000

    With the foursome of Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver set to earn a combined $73.1 million this coming season, anything short of a trip to the postseason will be another huge disappointment for a team that has spent big the past couple years.

    Improving the starting rotation remains their biggest area of need, as they have three solid starters in Weaver, Wilson and Garrett Richards but need to figure out the back end. A trade of someone from the group of Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick and Mark Trumbo could be how they go about improving the staff without adding a ton more salary.

    Paying Vernon Wells $18.6 million this season to not be on the team is tough to swallow, and with the luxury-tax threshold of $189 million growing ever closer, don't expect another big signing from the Halos this winter. 

    Projected Max Payroll: $160 million

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    SP Zack Greinke ($26,000,000)
    SP Zack Greinke ($26,000,000)Harry How/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$184,961,902
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$30,300,000

    No, that's not a typo, the Dodgers did in fact increase their Opening Day payroll by over $110 million from 2012 to 2013, as they seemingly have an endless pool of money to work with since the new ownership group has taken charge.

    The logjam in the outfield remains, but given the fact that all four guys were active at the same time for all of one game in 2013, that depth may wind up being more necessity than luxury if they don't wind up dealing someone.

    Dan Haren (one-year, $10 million) was added to the rotation, but they could still look to make a splash with the addition of someone like David Price on the trade market. Third base will need to be addressed as well, though re-signing Juan Uribe looks like the most likely move.

    Projected Max Payroll: $225 million

Miami Marlins

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    RF Giancarlo Stanton ($4,800,000-projected)
    RF Giancarlo Stanton ($4,800,000-projected)Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$7,200,000
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$17,500,000

    After spending big on the likes of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell prior to the 2012 season, the Marlins pushed reset this past year and trimmed their payroll down to the bare minimum with an eye on the future.

    The good news for them is: That future looks incredibly bright, especially on the pitching side of things, where they have a number of impressive young arms led by NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez. However, it could be a few years before they return to respectability as their young core finds its footing.

    Signing a few stop-gap veterans in the mold of last offseason's Placido Polanco and Juan Uribe additions will be their likely course of action, while an extension for Giancarlo Stanton remains perhaps their biggest potential investment.

    Projected Max Payroll: $35 million

Milwaukee Brewers

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    3B Aramis Ramirez ($16,000,000)
    3B Aramis Ramirez ($16,000,000)Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$75,050,000
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$7,000,000

    The 2013 season was a rough one for the Brewers, as their starting pitching fell well short of expectations and their lineup was forced to deal with a number of injuries as well as the Ryan Braun suspension.

    After adding just a few pieces to the bullpen last offseason, it could be another quiet winter for Milwaukee. They will need to find a first baseman, and re-signing Corey Hart after he missed all of 2013 with knee issues looks like one potential option.

    With some improvement from their starting rotation and a bit better luck on the health side of things than last year, the Brewers could be far more competitive in 2014 without adding much to their payroll.

    Projected Max Payroll: $90 million

Minnesota Twins

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    C Joe Mauer ($23,000,000)
    C Joe Mauer ($23,000,000)Steve Mitchell/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$66,000,000
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$4,800,000

    The Twins have already taken the first step toward fixing what was the worst starting rotation in baseball last season, signing Ricky Nolasco to a four-year, $49 million deal. Chances are they aren't done there either, as a complete rotation overhaul was in order.

    Aside from the $23 million that Joe Mauer will earn in 2013, the team really doesn't have much in the way of big-money, long-term commitments, so it could look to aggressively pursue midlevel players on one- or two-year deals to round out the roster.

    At this point, it's all about the future in Minnesota, as it boasts arguably the best farm system in all of baseball. That said, they have plenty of room to spend money and put a more respectable product on the field in 2014. 

    Projected Max Payroll: $90 million 

New York Mets

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    3B David Wright ($20,000,000)
    3B David Wright ($20,000,000)Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$47,886,105
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$24,100,000

    Despite the fact that they will be paying roughly $15.5 million to players no longer with the team, including the likes of Bobby Bonilla and Bret Saberhagen, the Mets have a ton of payroll room to work with this offseason.

    As things stand right now, David Wright, Jon Niese and the newly acquired Chris Young are the only three players under contract for 2014, but there will no doubt be at least a few more players joining that group via free agency.

    Additions at shortstop, in the outfield and in both the starting rotation and bullpen would all make sense as the team looks to take the next step toward contention. A splash signing in the outfield looks like the most likely big move. 

    Projected Max Payroll: $95 million

New York Yankees

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    3B Alex Rodriguez ($26,000,000)
    3B Alex Rodriguez ($26,000,000)Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$117,525,000
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$17,200,000

    The Yankees have already made one big move this offseason, signing catcher Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million deal, and chances are they aren't done after missing the postseason this past year for just the second time since 1994.

    Re-signing Robinson Cano remains atop their to-do list, but with only CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova under contract in the rotation, they will need to add at least one starter and likely two. They also need to find replacements for Mariano Rivera in the bullpen and Curtis Granderson in center field, and probably an insurance policy for Alex Rodriguez at third base.

    When all that is done, my guess is they'll be north of the $189 million luxury-tax threshold once again, although likely not as far over as they have been in past seasons. 

    Projected Max Payroll: $200 million

Oakland Athletics

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    LF Yoenis Cespedes ($10,500,000)
    LF Yoenis Cespedes ($10,500,000)Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$39,150,000
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$28,600,000

    The A's continue to get more out of less than any team in MLB, and while their payroll could be a decent amount higher than last season, they will still have one of the smallest payrolls in all of baseball.

    Signing a reliever to replace Grant Balfour—whether it's a closer or a setup man that allows either Ryan Cook or Sean Doolittle to move to the ninth inning—looks like their biggest need. Re-signing Bartolo Colon is also a very real possibility, though it will likely only happen if he's willing to take a one-year deal.

    Those two signings could be enough to push the payroll to the highest it's been since it was nearly $80 million back in 2007, as the A's look to make it three consecutive AL West titles. 

    Projected Max Payroll: $80 million

Philadelphia Phillies

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    1B Ryan Howard ($25,000,000)
    1B Ryan Howard ($25,000,000)Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$136,000,000
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$13,100,000

    The core of players that made the Phillies perennial title contenders not all that long ago has aged rapidly over the past few seasons, and the organization has been left somewhere between contention and rebuilding as a result.

    The extensions given to Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley suggest the team still thinks it has a chance to win now, and it has already spent to re-sign Carlos Ruiz and to add Marlon Byrd so far this offseason, so don't expect a fire sale anytime soon.

    Adding a late-inning bullpen arm and perhaps another bat in the outfield and a veteran starter could all be in the works before spring training starts, leaving them with a payroll in line with what it's been the past few seasons. 

    Projected Max Payroll: $170 million

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    C Russell Martin ($9,500,000)
    C Russell Martin ($9,500,000)Elsa/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$40,575,000
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$17,100,000

    The Pirates finally got over the hump this past season, reaching the playoffs for the first time since 1992. That was thanks in large part to the terrific offseason additions of Russell Martin and Francisco Liriano and the continued development of their young, homegrown core.

    Re-signing or replacing A.J. Burnett in the rotation looks like their biggest offseason decision, while they could also look to add a platoon partner for Gaby Sanchez at first base or an upgrade over Jose Tabata in right field.

    That said, they remain one of the smaller-market teams out there, and their payroll likely won't climb too far beyond where it was last season. 

    Projected Max Payroll: $70 million

San Diego Padres

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    LF Carlos Quentin ($9,500,000)
    LF Carlos Quentin ($9,500,000)Steve Mitchell/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$43,225,000
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$33,100,000

    The Padres have quietly assembled a solid core of young talent at the big league level, and the emergence of Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross atop the rotation in the second half has them in position to potentially be one of the surprise teams of 2014.

    They added one of the more intriguing reclamation projects on the market in Josh Johnson, and he joins Ian Kennedy as wild cards in the rotation. If those two can come even close to their prime production, the Padres staff could be formidable.

    As for further spending this offseason, chances are the team's payroll won't climb much higher than it is right now, and a potential Chase Headley trade could actually drop it down from where it currently projects to be. 

    Projected Max Payroll: $80 million

San Francisco Giants

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    SP Matt Cain ($20,833,333)
    SP Matt Cain ($20,833,333)Stephen Lam/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$125,227,777
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$9,900,000

    Fresh off of a World Series title, and with essentially the same roster of players returning, hopes were high for the Giants heading into the 2013 season. However, a big step back by their starting rotation left them needing a few late-season wins to avoid a last-place finish in the NL West.

    Most of what they've done this offseason has been taking care of their own, re-signing Tim Lincecum, Hunter Pence and Javier Lopez. They also added Tim Hudson to fill out a rotation that will be sans Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong.

    Left field looks like their biggest remaining area of need, and while they may wind up just signing a platoon partner for Gregor Blanco, adding a power bat would certainly help the offense. 

    Projected Max Payroll: $140 million

Seattle Mariners

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    SP Felix Hernandez ($22,857,142)
    SP Felix Hernandez ($22,857,142)Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$33,257,142
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$4,800,000

    As the Mariners continue to work homegrown talent into everyday roles, they have found themselves with a roster loaded with pre-arbitration players and a payroll that has shrunk to nearly a third of what it was five years ago.

    Of the roughly $38 million they are projected to pay players under contract and their two arbitration eligibles, nearly two thirds of that will go to ace Felix Hernandez after he signed a seven-year, $175 million extension last offseason.

    As for where they'll spend this offseason, expect them to wind up with one of the premier outfield targets on the free-agent market, to either re-sign Kendrys Morales or to find a replacement for him at DH, and to sign a closer and perhaps another high-end setup arm. When all that is finished, their payroll will still likely be below what it was last season. 

    Projected Max Payroll: $80 million

St. Louis Cardinals

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    SP Adam Wainwright ($19,500,000)
    SP Adam Wainwright ($19,500,000)Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$91,825,000
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$15,400,000

    The Cardinals have already filled their biggest need this offseason, signing shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a four-year, $53 million deal to replace Pete Kozma at shortstop. They also acquired Peter Bourjos from the Angels in a four-player deal that saw David Freese head to L.A.

    Sorting out their bumper crop of talented young starting pitching looks like their biggest offseason need from here, but that will be about in-house decisions, not about bringing in more guys and adding more payroll.

    A few complementary pieces could be added, and John Axford, who is projected to make $5.7 million in arbitration, could be a nontender candidate, but when all is said and done their payroll should be right around the current projected total of just over $107 million. 

    Projected Max Payroll: $110 million

Tampa Bay Rays

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    3B Evan Longoria ($7,500,000)
    3B Evan Longoria ($7,500,000)Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$29,630,000
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$29,600,000

    Right up there with the A's as far as making the most of their limited payroll room, the Rays will be bargain hunters once again this offseason after hitting on the likes of James Loney, Kelly Johnson and Roberto Hernandez last offseason.

    Finding a replacement for Loney at first base looks like their biggest need, but the biggest decision of the offseason will be if and when to deal ace David Price, who seems all but a lock to be playing elsewhere by the end of 2014 at the latest.

    Price is projected to make $13.1 million in arbitration this year, so if they move him sometime soon it would give them that much more money to work with this offseason. Either wa,y though, don't expect their payroll to climb above the $72.8 million mark it was at back in 2010. 

    Projected Max Payroll: $70 million

Texas Rangers

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    1B Prince Fielder ($24,000,000)
    1B Prince Fielder ($24,000,000)Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$100,125,000
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$11,800,000

    The Rangers already made one huge move this offseason, adding Prince Fielder in a trade with the Tigers, and chances are they're not finished spending.

    The starting rotation looks strong, and they'll likely look within to fill the closer's role that was vacated by the departure of current free-agent Joe Nathan, but there are still some holes offensively.

    Catcher and left field are the two biggest areas left to target, and even if they re-sign A.J. Pierzynski and Nelson Cruz to fill those spots, it would likely cost them at least $25 million combined for the upcoming season. That number climbs even higher if it's something like Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Shin-Soo Choo instead. 

    Projected Max Payroll: $150 million

Toronto Blue Jays

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    SP Mark Buehrle ($19,000,000)
    SP Mark Buehrle ($19,000,000)Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$123,342,857
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$11,200,000

    The Blue Jays added nearly $40 million in payroll last offseason with their two blockbuster deals and a handful of free-agent signings, and the result was a terribly disappointing last-place finish in the AL East.

    With much of their roster locked up long term, they return essentially the same core group of players, with the one notable exception being Josh Johnson, who signed with the Padres as a free agent.

    They have popped up on both sides of the rumor mill already this offseason, as they are understandably in the market for a front-line starting pitcher and have two very attractive trade chips in Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion if they do in fact opt to make them available. They won't spend like last offseason, but they could certainly still add to the above figure. 

    Projected Max Payroll: $145 million

Washington Nationals

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    RF Jayson Werth ($20,571,428)
    RF Jayson Werth ($20,571,428)Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

    Team Payroll, Last Five Years



    2014 Payroll Outlook

    Guaranteed ContractsTotal
    Committed Salary$81,533,928
    Projected Arbitration Salaries$37,300,000

    The Nationals announced themselves to the baseball world as a team ready to spend big when they signed Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million deal prior to the 2011 season, and since then they have made a number of big additions in the form of Edwin Jackson, Dan Haren, Rafael Soriano, Adam LaRoche and others.

    On paper, they remain one of the most complete teams in all of baseball top to bottom, but the Nationals are in the market to add another starting pitcher with Haren now with the Dodgers.

    They could look to make a splash and add someone like David Price via trade, but another veteran on a one-year contact, a la Jackson and Haren, seems more likely. They are also in the market for a veteran left-handed reliever and could shell out a multi-year deal to someone like Boone Logan or Scott Downs. 

    Projected Max Payroll: $140 million