Spring training is underway. Games will be starting soon. The annual Brewers-K-Rod-will-they-won't-they saga is finally over. There will be some final roster decisions to be made in the bullpen and on the bench. Those will be decided over the course of the next month of ST games. But the players up for those roles all make the league minimum so we now (probably) know what the opening day payroll will be.
|SP-Matt Garza: $12.5M||RP-Francisco Rodriguez: $3.5M||C-Jonathan Lucroy: $3.4M||BN-Martin Maldonado: $0.85M|
|SP- Kyle Lohse: $11M||RP-Jonathan Broxton: $9M||1B-Adam Lind: $7.5||BN-Gerardo Parra: $6.2375M|
|SP-Wily Peralta: $0.5M||RP-Will Smith: $0.5M||2B-Scooter Gennett: $0.5M||BN-Shane Peterson: $0.5M|
|SP-Mike Fiers: $0.5M||RP-Jeremy Jeffress: $0.5M||3B-Aramis Ramiez: $14M||BN-Hector Gomez: $0.5M|
|SP-Jimmy Nelson: $0.5M||RP-Brandon Kintzler: $1.075M||SS-Jean Segura: $0.5M||BN-Luis Jimenez: $0.5M|
|RP-Neal Cotts: $3M||LF-Khris Davis: $0.5M|
|RP-Tyler Thornburg: $0.5M||CF-Carlos Gomez: $8M|
|Non-Roster- $4M||RF-Ryan Braun: $13M|
|Rotation Total: $25M||Bullpen Total: $18.1M||Lineup Total: $47.4M||
Bench Total: $8.5875M
Team Total: $103,160,000*
(*The players making league minimum will make $507,500. That number is reflected in the final total. Also, Brandon Kintzler can make an additional $25,000 via incentives. Matt Garza has $2 million deferred, but he can also make another $1 million via incentives. These numbers are not reflected in the team total.)
If you're curious, Cot's Contracts lists the Brewers 2014 Opening Day payroll at $103,697,697. According to Maury Brown at Forbes, the Brewers end of season payroll total for 2014 was $115,195,120. Part of that increase was the acquisitions of Gerardo Parra and Jonathan Broxton. Part of it was the cost of mid-season call-ups and salary of players on the 40-man roster.
Those players make the (prorated) league minimum when they're on the major league roster. But they make much less, depending on years of service time and what level they're playing at. It's hard to find updated information, but this Baseball America article from 2010 tells us AAA players (in 2010) would make between $32,500-$65,000 for a season at AAA.
If a AAA player spent time with MLB club the previous year, he can't make less than 60% of what he made while with the major league team. While those salary figures are likely higher now, it's probably not increased by much. The point is they don't make a whole lot when they're not on the MLB team.
The most these players could add to the total payroll cost would be $7,612,500 and that's if all of them somehow made the league minimum. For that to happen something catastrophic would have to happen to 15 players currently projected for the major league roster. So the total amount they'll actually add will be moderately to significantly less.
For the moment, the Brewers 2015 Opening Day payroll comes in at $537,697 under last year's figure. That gives them the possibility of adding at least another $12,035,120 before the season ends. Maybe more. Again, part of that money is going to be allotted for mid-season call-ups and other players on the 40-man roster. But that gives them the ability to add some significant talent at the trade deadline if that's the course the season takes.
If the Brewers were to acquire a player at the trade deadline (July 31) they'll only have to pay 1/3 of his entire salary. So if they were to acquire a player who makes $25 million in 2015, for example, they'd only be paying him $8,333,333. If they were to add that player at the waiver deadline (August 31) they'd only have to pay 1/6 of his salary which would be $4,166,667.
If we take that maximum amount the 40-man roster will add and subtract it from the assumed minimum amount the Brewers could add to the overall payroll, we get the absolute minimum payroll addition the Brewers could make at the trade deadline. That figure is $4,422,620. But remember, the Brewers won't get close to adding that maximum ($7,612,500) from the 15 players on the 40-man roster and they can probably add some amount more than that minimum ($12,035,120) increase.
The point I'm trying to make is, if the Brewers want to add a player at the deadline they can pretty much afford whichever player they want. Financially anyway.
Contract details courtesy of Cot's Contracts