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2014 Payroll Allocation, By Position

Posted By Wendy Thurm On February 25, 2014 @ 12:00 pm In Daily Graphings | 41 Comments

In Part One of this series, published yesterday, I ranked the projected 2014 Opening Day payrolls, estimated the number of pre-arbitration players on each Opening Day roster, and calculated the percentage of each team’s payroll attributed to the highest paid player.

Today, in Part Two, I break down the payrolls even further, into four component parts: the starting rotation, the starting lineup, the bullpen and the bench. In so doing, I made a judgment on who was likely to slot into these roles to start the season. FanGraphs’ Depth Charts and MLB Depth Charts¬†were my go-to sources, but I made a deliberate decision to exclude all non-roster invitees from Opening Day rosters, as those players’ salaries aren’t included on Cot’s Contracts. Invariably, some of my judgment calls will be wrong. Feel free to note those in the comments, as many did yesterday in Part One.

How much will teams spend on their starting rotation, as a percentage of the overall payroll:

Before we get to the numbers, a note about methodology. Several teams have starters who are on the disabled list. On the Los Angeles Dodgers, for example, Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett will be sidelined for the part of the season. I included their salaries as part of the Dodgers’ Opening Day starting rotation because to exclude them would have presented misleading information on how much the Dodgers are spending on starting pitchers this season.

Now, the numbers, in chart form:

Num Team 2014 Payroll Starters’ Combined Salary Starters as % of Payroll
1 Phillies $175,500,000 $80,675,000 46.10%
2 Giants $147,000,000 $57,800,000 39.30%
3 Brewers $100,500,000 $38,825,000 38.60%
4 Twins $82,500,000 $31,580,000 38.30%
5 Tigers $161,000,000 $60,325,000 37.50%
6 Mariners $87,500,000 $31,857,143 36.40%
7 Dodgers $223,000,000 $77,400,000 34.70%
8 Red Sox $155,000,000 $51,525,000 33.25%
9 Blue Jays $136,000,000 $44,700,000 32.90%
10 Cubs $89,000,000 $29,245,000 32.85%
11 Yankees $197,500,000 $64,800,000 32.80%
12 Pirates $71,500,000 $23,000,000 32.40%
13 Astros $49,000,000 $15,600,000 31.85%
14 Reds $106,000,000 $33,625,000 31.70%
15 Rockies $91,000,000 $26,062,500 28.65%
16 Royals $91,000,000 $25,050,000 27.50%
17 Rays $75,500,000 $20,225,000 26.80%
18 Cardinals $108,500,000 $28,875,000 26.60%
19 Diamondbacks $108,000,000 $28,650,000 26.50%
20 Padres $86,000,000 $21,150,000 24.60%
21 White Sox $89,000,000 $21,750,000 24.50%
22 Nationals $130,500,000 $30,275,000 23.20%
23 Mets $82,000,000 $18,675,000 22.75%
24 Angels $151,000,000 $34,200,000 22.65%
25 Orioles $105,000,000 $22,705,333 21.60%
26 Rangers $131,000,000 $27,000,000 21.10%
27 Indians $80,000,000 $13,200,000 16.50%
28 Athletics $79,000,000 $11,000,000 13.90%
29 Braves $96,000,000 $12,600,000 13.10%
30 Marlins $42,500,000 $3,000,000 7.10%

And in graph form [Note: after the post published, I edited the chart to better reflect the Pirates' spending on rotation, given the Astros' payment to the Pirates for $5.5 million in salary for Wandy Rodriguez. The graph does not contain that change.]:

starters_percentage

Even with Ryan Howard‘s bloated contract, and expensive deals with aging veterans Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, the Phillies will still spend close to 50% of their payroll this season on starting pitching. Their recent A.J. Burnett signing pushed that number up significantly, but even so, without Burnett, Philadelphia was heavily committed to the rotation.

On the other end, the Miami Marlins will field four starters at the league minimum and one — Jacob Turner — at only $1 million. The Oakland Athletics will be the only other team to feature four pre-arbitration starting pitchers; the A’s overall spending on starters is higher than the Marlins due to Scott Kazmir‘s $9 million contract. The New York Mets would have been close to the A’s situation if Matt Harvey hadn’t required Tommy John surgery, which pushed the team to add Bartolo Colon on a 2-year/$20 million deal.

Five teams will feature starting rotations with no pre-arbitration pitchers: the Washington Nationals, San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants and Dodgers. With Derek Holland and Matt Harrison still recovering from injuries, the Texas Rangers may start the season with several pre-arbitration starters in their rotation, but the team is still on the hook for six major-league salaries for the rotation.

How much will teams spend on their starting lineup, as a percentage of the overall payroll:

The Dodgers, again, presented tough choices, given their outfield situation. I included Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig in LA’s starting outfield with Andre Ethier coming off the bench. If you think Ethier will start, you’d have the Dodgers with a lower starting lineup number and a higher bench number. As it is, with Ethier coming off the bench, the Dodgers have the most expensive bench in the league this season.

The numbers, in chart form:

Rank Team Projected 2014 OD Payroll Starting Lineup Combined Salary Starting Lineup As % of Payroll
1 Rangers $131,000,000 $84,675,000 64.60%
2 Mets $82,000,000 $52,950,000 64.60%
3 Braves $96,000,000 $61,442,375 64%
4 Indians $80,000,000 $51,075,000 63.80%
5 Orioles $105,000,000 $65,171,667 62.10%
6 Yankees $197,500,000 $117,867,857 59.80%
7 Cardinals $108,500,000 $57,900,000 53.40%
8 Rockies $91,000,000 $48,528,571 53.30%
9 Nationals $130,500,000 $65,616,490 50.50%
10 Brewers $100,500,000 $50,450,000 50.20%
11 Marlins $42,500,000 $21,350,000 50.20%
12 White Sox $89,000,000 $44,542,000 50%
13 Diamondbacks $108,000,000 $52,750,000 48.80%
14 Tigers $161,000,000 $77,925,000 48.40%
15 Athletics $79,000,000 $38,150,000 48.30%
16 Angels $151,000,000 $72,125,000 47.80%
17 Blue Jays $136,000,000 $65,000,000 47.80%
18 Pirates $71,500,000 $33,425,333 46.70%
19 Mariners $87,500,000 $39,957,500 45.70%
20 Twins $82,500,000 $37,600,000 45.60%
21 Dodgers $223,000,000 $100,970,000 45.30%
22 Rays $75,500,000 $33,995,000 45%
23 Red Sox $155,000,000 $67,375,000 43.50%
24 Giants $147,000,000 $61,837,778 42.10%
25 Padres $86,000,000 $36,225,000 42.10%
26 Reds $106,000,000 $43,541,667 41.10%
27 Phillies $175,500,000 $70,450,000 40.25%
28 Royals $91,000,000 $30,300,000 33.30%
29 Astros $49,000,000 $14,737,000 30%
30 Cubs $89,000,000 $18,892,857 21.20%

And in graph form:

starting_lineup_percentage

Look at the outliers. The Cubs will spend just more than 20% of their payroll on their starting lineup. Right fielder Nate Schierholtz — who was a platoon player on the Giants — will be the second-highest paid position player with a salary of $5 million. On the Astros, pitcher Scott Feldman‘s $12 million salary is nearly a quarter of the payroll, which pushes down the percentage spent offensive players.

What about the DH? American League teams have nine players in their starting lineups; National League teams have only eight. You’d expect — or at least I expected — to see more AL teams at the top of the rankings. But of the top 15 teams in spending on starting lineups, eight are NL teams.

How much will teams spend on their bullpen, as a percentage of the overall payroll:

Every team has an active bullpen competition in spring training, so my Opening Day roster picks are likely to be off for a number of teams. But that shouldn’t change the payroll percentage numbers too much, as most of the guys fighting for the last few bullpen spots are likely to be pre-arb or otherwise inexpensive players.

The numbers, in chart form:

Rank Team Projected 2014 Opening Day Payroll Bullpen Combined Salary Bullpen As % Payroll
1 Rays $75,500,000 $17,669,750 23.40%
2 Athletics $79,000,000 $17,840,000 22.60%
3 Royals $91,000,000 $18,522,500 20.40%
4 Marlins $42,500,000 $8,450,000 19.90%
5 Padres $86,000,000 $16,600,000 19.30%
6 Nationals $130,500,000 $25,125,000 19.25%
7 Reds $106,000,000 $17,050,000 17%
8 Diamondbacks $108,000,000 $17,975,000 16.60%
9 Rockies $91,000,000 $14,950,000 16.40%
10 Cubs $89,000,000 $14,375,000 16.20%
11 Astros $49,000,000 $7,500,000 15.30%
12 Angels $151,000,000 $22,887,500 15.20%
13 White Sox $89,000,000 $13,350,000 15%
14 Giants $147,000,000 $21,845,000 14.90%
15 Dodgers $223,000,000 $32,900,000 14.75%
16 Twins $82,500,000 $11,435,000 13.90%
17 Pirates $71,500,000 $9,975,000 13.80%
18 Phillies $175,500,000 $24,000,000 13.70%
19 Red Sox $155,000,000 $20,400,000 13.20%
20 Indians $80,000,000 $9,900,000 12.40%
21 Orioles $105,000,000 $12,850,000 12.20%
22 Cardinals $108,500,000 $13,000,000 12%
23 Mariners $87,500,000 $10,250,000 11.80%
24 Braves $96,000,000 $11,240,000 11.70%
25 Tigers $161,000,000 $15,737,500 9.80%
26 Blue Jays $136,000,000 $12,050,000 8.90%
27 Brewers $100,500,000 $8,700,000 8.70%
28 Mets $82,000,000 $6,700,000 8.20%
29 Rangers $131,000,000 $9,000,000 6.90%
30 Yankees $197,500,000 $12,480,000 6.30%

And in graph form:

pen_percentage

The top six teams in this ranking are all small budget teams. And that makes sense, given the rise in relievers’ salaries in the last five years, particularly for “proven closers.” But look at the Nationals. Washington will spend nearly 20% of its payroll on its bullpen, which is an astounding figure for a team with a $130 million payroll.

Even so, the Nationals aren’t even the top spender on their relief corp. That honor goes to the Dodgers, of course, who will spend more on Brian Wilson to set up Kenley Jansen ($10 million), than seven teams will spend on their entire bullpen. And there’s still the matter of Brandon League‘s 3-year/$22.5 million contract, now in its second year. That’s a pretty, pretty expensive low-leverage middle reliever.

How much will teams spend on their bench, as a percentage of the overall payroll:

Rank Team Projected 2014 Opening Day Payroll Bench Combined Salary Bench as % of Payroll
1 Marlins $42,500,000 $5,800,000 13.60%
2 White Sox $89,000,000 $9,800,000 11.00%
3 Padres $86,000,000 $9,337,500 10.90%
4 Indians $80,000,000 $6,750,000 8.40%
5 Dodgers $223,000,000 $17,700,000 7.90%
6 Diamondbacks $108,000,000 $8,250,000 7.60%
7 Rays $75,500,000 $5,235,000 7.10%
8 Red Sox $155,000,000 $10,800,000 7.00%
9 Mets $82,000,000 $5,637,500 6.90%
10 Pirates $71,500,000 $4,950,000 6.90%
11 Rockies $91,000,000 $6,100,000 6.70%
12 Athletics $79,000,000 $4,895,000 6.20%
13 Reds $106,000,000 $6,360,000 6.00%
14 Astros $49,000,000 $2,800,000 5.70%
15 Cardinals $108,500,000 $6,040,000 5.60%
16 Nationals $130,500,000 $7,200,000 5.50%
17 Cubs $89,000,000 $4,900,000 5.50%
18 Mariners $87,500,000 $4,800,000 5.50%
19 Yankees $197,500,000 $9,700,000 4.90%
20 Braves $96,000,000 $4,590,000 4.80%
21 Tigers $161,000,000 $7,500,000 4.70%
22 Blue Jays $136,000,000 $5,250,000 3.90%
23 Giants $147,000,000 $5,415,000 3.70%
24 Royals $91,000,000 $2,955,000 3.20%
25 Rangers $131,000,000 $3,500,000 2.70%
26 Phillies $175,500,000 $4,612,500 2.60%
27 Brewers $100,500,000 $2,500,000 2.50%
28 Twins $82,500,000 $2,000,000 2.40%
29 Orioles $105,000,000 $2,350,000 2.20%
30 Angels $151,000,000 $2,000,000 1.30%

And in graph form:

bench_players_percentage

I’ve searched and searched for a pattern to emerge with these bench payroll numbers, and I don’t see much. On average, teams will spend just under $6 million on their bench, so the Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers and Nationals — among the big spending teams — and the White Sox, Indians, Padres and Diamondbacks — among the low spending teams — are on the high end. Again, I expected to see bigger numbers from NL teams because they have a five-man bench, while AL teams have only four, with the DH taking up the extra spot in the starting lineup. But that didn’t show itself in the actual numbers.

Putting all the numbers together in one chart:

The moment you’ve all been waiting for. No? I guess you’re not as much of a numbers geek as I am.

We return to the chart ranking the projected Opening Day payrolls, and give you the percentages for rotation, starting lineup, bullpen and bench. Before you start hollering in the comments, some of the percentages will add up to more than 100%. From what I can see, that’s largely the result of using rounded numbers and then adding those rounded numbers together. Obviously, if I made an egregious mistake, tell me in the comments. But save yourself the energy on “Minor nitpick but the Yankees’ numbers add up to 102%.”

Rank Team Projected 2014 Payroll Rotation as % of Payroll Starting Lineup as % of Payroll Bullpen as % Payroll Bench as % of Payroll
1 Dodgers $223,000,000 34.7% 45.3% 14.8% 7.9%
2 Yankees $197,500,000 32.8% 59.8% 6.3% 4.9%
3 Phillies $175,500,000 46.1% 40.3% 13.7% 2.6%
4 Tigers $161,000,000 37.5% 48.4% 9.8% 4.7%
5 Red Sox $155,000,000 33.3% 43.5% 13.2% 7.0%
6 Angels $151,000,000 22.7% 47.8% 15.2% 1.3%
7 Giants $147,000,000 39.3% 42.1% 14.9% 3.7%
8 Blue Jays $136,000,000 32.9% 47.8% 8.9% 3.9%
9 Rangers $131,000,000 21.1% 64.6% 6.9% 2.7%
10 Nationals $130,500,000 23.2% 50.5% 19.3% 5.5%
11 Cardinals $108,500,000 26.6% 53.4% 12.0% 5.6%
12 Diamondbacks $108,000,000 26.5% 48.8% 16.6% 7.6%
13 Reds $106,000,000 31.7% 41.1% 17.0% 6.0%
14 Orioles $105,000,000 21.6% 62.1% 12.2% 2.2%
15 Brewers $100,500,000 38.6% 50.2% 8.7% 2.5%
16 Braves $96,000,000 13.1% 64.0% 11.7% 4.8%
17 Rockies $91,000,000 28.7% 53.3% 20.4% 6.7%
18 Royals $91,000,000 27.5% 33.3% 16.4% 3.2%
19 Cubs $89,000,000 32.9% 21.2% 16.2% 5.5%
20 White Sox $89,000,000 24.5% 50% 15.0% 11%
21 Mariners $87,500,000 36.4% 45.7% 11.8% 5.5%
22 Padres $86,000,000 24.6% 42.1% 19.3% 10.9%
23 Twins $82,500,000 38.3% 45.6% 13.9% 2.4%
24 Mets $82,000,000 22.8% 64.6% 8.2% 6.9%
25 Indians $80,000,000 16.5% 63.8% 12.4% 8.4%
26 Athletics $79,000,000 13.9% 48.3% 22.6% 6.2%
27 Rays $75,500,000 26.8% 45.0% 23.4% 7.1%
28 Pirates $71,500,000 32.4% 46.7% 13.8% 6.9%
29 Astros $49,000,000 31.9% 30.0% 15.3% 5.7%
30 Marlins $42,500,000 7.1% 50.2% 19.9% 13.6%

*********

Two postscripts:

A big, big thank you to my colleague Bill Petti for the graphs. Yes, a writer at FanGraphs is graphically-challenged.

Several readers left good comments on Part One with suggestions of other ways to break down the salary numbers. Please leave your suggestions below. I will review the suggestions and write a follow-up post with additional analysis.


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