What is the KC Royals payroll following the Seth Lugo deal?

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
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The KC Royals made their biggest free-agent acquisition in years on Tuesday, signing Set Lugo to a three-year deal worth $45,000,000. Adding Lugo to the fold drew a mixed reaction from the Royals fanbase, but this is the latest chapter this offseason in Kansas City adding payroll. Kansas City has added $25,500,000 in guaranteed salary for the upcoming season via free agency and may not be done yet.

Seeing the series of moves this week had me wondering where the Royals' payroll stands. Between pre-arbitration salaries and arbitration estimates, calculating a rough estimate of the Royals' payroll for the upcoming season is quite challenging. But my math teacher was wrong. I always have a calculator in my pocket.

Let's look at what the 2024 KC Royals payroll could be.

First, let's look at the guaranteed salaries for the 2024 Royals.

Player Name

2024 Salary

Salvador Perez

$20,000,000

Seth Lugo

$15,000,000

Jordan Lyles

$8,500,000

Will Smith

$5,000,000

Chris Stratton

$3,500,000

Garrett Hampson

$2,000,000

Taylor Clarke

$1,250,000

Josh Taylor

$1,100,000

Jake Brentz

$1,050,000

Total

$57,400,000

Next, the Royals have plenty of players eligible for arbitration. Taylor's and Clarke's contracts avoided arbitration, but there are still several players whose contracts are yet to be settled through arbitration. Projections vary, but my first stop for arbitration projections is MLB Trade Rumors. Matt Swartz's formula is fairly accurate and straightforward, so it is my preference. All the figures here are from that formula.

Player Name

2024 Est. Arbitration

Brady Singer

$5,100,000

Kris Bubic

$2,400,000

Edward Olivares

$1,800,000

Nick Anderson

$1,600,000

Kyle Wright

$1,400,000

Carlos Hernández

$1,300,000

Total

$13,600,000

Lastly, the trickiest figure to track is salaries for players not yet eligible for arbitration. That applies to players like Bobby Witt Jr., Vinnie Pasquantino, and Maikel Garcia, just to name a few. All those players, who make up most of the Royals' 40-man roster, will receive the same salary. For this section, I default to FanGraphs' RosterResource's prediction.

Pre-Arb. Players

2024 Est. Pre-Arb

Total

$13,320,000

Now here is where the basic addition comes into play. Adding up all those salaries will give us the the projected Opening Day payroll for the Royals.

Group

Total

Guaranteed Salaries

$57,400,000

Estimated Arbitration

$13,600,000

Estimated Pre-Arbitration

$13,320,000

Total

$84,320,000

But wait, there's more! Remember that Hunter Dozier guy? He was still due $9,250,000 in 2024, which Kansas City still owes him. Add that amount to the Opening Day payroll for the Royals, and the final payroll would be $93,570,000.

That is not a crazy amount for a baseball team, as the average 2024 total payroll is $122,509,208, according to Spotrac. The Royals still have some money to spend as it relates to general manager J.J. Picollo's $30 million statement earlier this month. This suggests that the Royals have some flexibility in their budget and may be able to make additional signings or acquisitions. It will be interesting to see how they choose to allocate their remaining funds and what impact it will have on their performance during the season.

The Royals have not had an above-average payroll in decades, but with their current financial flexibility, they have the opportunity to invest in key players and potentially improve their competitiveness. This could be a significant turning point for the Royals organization and could potentially lead to a resurgence in their performance on the field.

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