The Kansas City Royals have been reportedly rumored to trying to lower their team payroll to a number lower than $100 million in 2019. For most teams when you hear that number it could easily cause concern. However, that shouldn’t be the case for the Royals.
If you have been paying attention to the Kansas City Royals during the second half of the year, having a payroll under $100 million isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It isn’t a mystery that the Royals are rebuilding, therefore having a payroll over $100 million should be the goal.
So how low can the Royals actually get their payroll while still fielding a competitive team? Well, the answer is pretty low. And we can say this based off how the second half of the season has gone and who they are playing with.
Freed up money
Before looking at who is going to be here, let’s take a look at who is going to be gone or have their contract off the team’s payroll. The list is short, but the amount of money is still significant.
Another big perk for the 2019 season is Omar Infante is finally no longer on the Royals payroll. They also won’t have to pay players like Brandon Moss, Blaine Boyer, Justin Grimm, Abraham Almonte, Mike Minor, and others to not be in Kansas City, too.
In fact, the only player they will have to pay to not be in Kansas City is Travis Wood ($1.5M) in 2019, as of right now.
Players currently on the 2019 payroll
Now let’s dig into the possible 2019 payroll. We can break this up into two different categories. One being guaranteed money that we already know, another being contracts that we will have to wait and see what the numbers will be due to Arbitration and Pre-Arbitration hearings/averages.
- Alex Gordon: $20M
- Ian Kennedy: $16.5M
- Danny Duffy: $15.25M
- Salvador Perez: $11.2M
- Jorge Soler: $4.67M (technically $4,666,667 but we will round up)
When looking at this list, it is shocking to believe the Royals could stay under $100M on the year. In guaranteed money, the Royals have $67,616,667 wrapped up in five players. They still need to pay 20 other players and adding Wood’s contract into the mix pushes the Royals to nearly $70M on the year.
Arbitration and Pre-Arbitration Players
And this is where the answers to “how” are made. The number of players the Royals could have to fill the remaining 20 roster spots will cost the Royals hardly anything.
Arbitration Eligible Players:
- Cheslor Cuthbert: $573,500 in 2018 (entering his first year of arbitration in 2019)
- Brian Flynn: $573,500 in 2018 (entering his firs t year of arbitration in 2019)
- Jesse Hahn: $574,000 in 2018 (entering his first year of arbitration in 2019)
- Nate Karns: $1.375M in 2018 (entering his second year of arbitration in 2019)
- Brandon Maurer: $2.95M in 2018 (entering his last year of arbitration in 2019)
- Jorge Bonifacio
- Hunter Dozier
- Cam Gallagher
- Brian Goodwin
- Jake Junis
- Jorge Lopez
- Kevin McCarthy
- Whit Merrifield
- Adalberto Mondesi
- Brett Phillips
- Eric Skoglund
- Burch Smith
When you figure how much these players could possibly make, last year the league minimum Pre-Arbitration players made was around $573,500, which is $21,250 more than 2017 Pre-Arbitration players made. Assuming the jump will be similar, that would mean all the above players would make around $594,750 in 2019. If you add all of those contracts together, those 12 players will make a combined $7,130,000 in 2019.
The total salary of all the above players
If you take the roughly $70M in guaranteed contracts, plus the $7M from Pre-Arbitration, the Royals are at $77M between 17 players. That would mean that the Royals have roughly $23M to spend on the remaining eight roster spots.
This also doesn’t take into consideration players like Jake Newberry, Tim Hill, Brad Keller, Ryan O’Hearn, Heath Fillmyer, Glenn Sparkman, Jerry Vesto, Meibrys Viloria, Ben Lively, and Rosell Herrera. As well as players like Frank Schwindel, Richard Lovelady, and other minor league players who could make the push in 2019.
The Royals have plenty of ways to keep their payroll below $100M in 2019. The only caveat of the whole process is that the team will be extremely young and the level of competitiveness the team will have is unknown. However, if the Royals could have player development jumps from younger players like Keller and Mondesi had this year, the future of the Royals will look even brighter.
Fans shouldn’t be upset about the lower team payroll. The lower they spend, the better the probability they will have when it comes to signing improvement players when they are competitive again. When they get to the 2020 season, Gordon’s contract will be off the books and the Royals will have even more payroll flexibility.
Fans should go into the 2019 season with the same expectations they did from July to the end of the year. Be excited when players like O’Hearn surprise everyone. Be excited to see what players like Lopez and Lovelady do against big league talent. Most importantly though, don’t get caught up in team payroll. Until the Royals are competitive again between 2020 and 2021, the amount of money they spend shouldn’t matter.
Enjoy the 2019 season Royals fans. You will get to see the next wave of future players start to make their push, and the Number 2 Overall Pick in the MLB Draft could push the team future ahead just like the 2018 MLB Draft did.
What do you think Royals fans?