From Bob Dutton's latest dispatch at the GM's meetings:
Dayton Moore departed the annual general managers' meetings Wednesday, warning that last week's trade to acquire first baseman Mike Jacobs from Florida might be the Royals' only major off-season move.
After splashing the cash the last two winters, a trade for a ready-made platoon player at first was all GMDM could do?
Should I laugh or cry?
According to my rudimentary calculations, the Royals are currently on the hook for around $35.7 million for next season. That doesn't include their arbitration cases (a whopping 14 with the addition of Jacobs) so don't be fooled by that low number. Of that money that is already spent, $23 million (or roughly 65%) is going to Gil Meche and Jose Guillen.
There are several players who are arbitration eligible the Royals will have to address:
The list is a little misleading because not all of those players will be offered arbitration. The guess here is the Royals will cut ties with Hudson, Smith, German and Bale. They should also move away from Gathright who has zero value and since Trey Hillman has no clue how to properly use Gobble, they could conceivably let him go as well. At least they probably should.
Peralta, Duckworth, Davies and Bannister each made roughly $400,000 last year. They didn't justify big dollars for this coming year, and using Greinke's $1.4 million he made last year as a high water mark for fourth year pitchers (because none of those four have his potential) let's guess that the currency of pitching will cost the Royals $1 million each. Now, let's add that $4 million to the $36 million already on the books to bring our total to $40 million.
The Royals will probably bring back Buck (although I have no idea way) and Teahen. Buck earned $2.2 million last year in his first year of arbitration. Teahen made $2.3. Let's give them a bump to around $4 million or so. And don't forget Jacobs, who will make around $3 million next year. Add that $11 million to our $40 and we're at $51 million.
That brings us to Greinke. What's the guess on his salary for next year if the Royals go for just a one year contract? I'm thinking $7 million, give or take a cool million. Add that to the $51 million on the books for next year and you're at $58 million. And that's for 16 contracts.
That leaves nine contracts left to make up the 25 man roster. This is the group that includes Billy Butler, Mike Aviles and Alex Gordon who are at the mercy of the team when it comes to their contracts. If GMDM is truly finished, we figure a total payout of $4 million to those guys, or an average of $444,000. The $4 million brings our total to $62 million which is about $5 million higher than the Opening Day payroll of 2008.
No wonder GMDM is playing down free agent talk. He pretty much shot his wad the last two winters and now has his hands tied by a budget that isn't growing at the same pace it was at this time two years ago. Maybe the Royals will look to make some deals to patch some holes. But look at the 40-man roster. Take off your Royal-blue colored glasses and do you see much in the way of value outside of the usual suspects of Greinke and David DeJesus? The minors are pretty thin as well.
Last winter, I watched as Delmon Young, Josh Hamilton and Carlos Quentin were among the young outfielders who moved to new teams in trades. As all that was going down I was wishing the Royals had the depth to pull off a move like that.
It looks like I'll be doing the same thing again this winter.