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Brewers 2016 roster/payroll projection update

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With the addition of Chris Carter and the salaries of the arbitration eligible players now set, it's time to update our 2016 payroll and roster projection.

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Since my last roster and payroll projection update a few significant transactions have taken place. Perhaps the most noteworthy was the free agent signing of first baseman Chris Carter--and to a lesser degree the subsequent DFA-ing of "catcher" Josmil Pinto. Three other specific questions were also answers, namely the salaries of Will Smith, Jean Segura, and Wily Peralta.

In signing Chris Carter the Brewers answer once and for all who will play first base for the Brewers in 2016. It might have even answered who will start there for the next three seasons. While the Brewers signed him to a one year $2.5 million contract--with an additional $0.5M available through incentives--he's still just in his first of three arbitration seasons. So it's possible for the Brewers to retain control over the player through the 2019 season.

In addition to that we've learned the salary of Smith, Segura, and Peralta. Smith will make $1.475 million, Segura $2.6M and Peralta $2.8. All told that's $325,000 under what MLB Trade Rumors had originally projected. We already knew these three players would be on the opening day roster but now we know the salary of each player* currently projected to make that active roster. (*Pre-arbitration players will make at or near the league minimum. Their exact typically aren't made public but whatever amount over the minimum will be relatively negligible.)

So without further adieu here's my roster and payroll update:

C: Jonathan Lucroy- $4.35M C/1B: Martin Maldonado - $1.125M SP: Matt Garza- $12.5M RP: Will Smith- $1.475M
1B: Chris Carter- $2.5M INF/OF: Colin Walsh- $507,500 SP: Wily Peralta- $2.8M RP: Jeremy Jeffress- $507,500
2B: Scooter Gennett- $507,500 INF: Jonathan Villar- $507,500 SP: Jimmy Nelson- $507,500 RP: Michael Blazek- $507,500
3B: Garin Cecchini- $507,500 OF: Domingo Santana- $507,500 SP: T. Jungmann- $507,500 RP: Corey Knebel- $507,500
SS: Jean Segura- $2.6M OF/1B: S. Peterson- $507,500 SP: Zach Davies- $507,500 RP: Tyler Thornburg- $507,500
OF: Ryan Braun- $20M
RP: Ariel Pena- $507,500
OF: Khris Davis- $507,500
RP: Zack Jones- $507,500
OF: Kirk Nieuwenhuis- $507,500
Total: $31,480,000 Total: $3,155,000 Total: $16,822,500 Total: $4,520,000
Team Total: $55,977,500

Before I dig into the payroll I just want to make it clear that the roster part if flexible. If you think Domingo Santana should be in the starting slot and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the bench spot then make the mental correction. It's fine. For the purposes of this projection is doesn't really matter. I'm not making a value judgment on either player.

There are a few things to go over with respect to the payroll. Both Chris Carter and Matt Garza could make half a million each in incentives. Braun's salary has $4 million deferred to a later date. The Brewers owe Kyle Lohse $2.333 million from a deferment. But it's a fair question whether the Brewers count the deferred money in the year it's deferred or the year it's paid. I'm not certain. To further compound things, they owe Jonathan Broxton $2 million for the buyout on his 2016 team option--it was part of the trade to the Cardinals. Again, I'm not certain if the Brewers counted that last year or this year.

So we can just think of their upward payroll range in 2016 to be approximately $58,977,000 and the lower range to be approximately $54,310,833. That's about half what they were set to spend on last year's opening day roster. But there are still a few months left before the season starts and I wouldn't be surprised to see them sign a project starting pitcher--like Mat Latos--before it's all said and done. That being said, I doubt their final opening day payroll and roster looks much different than what I have here--unless the Brewers do make some more trades which is also a possibility.

Contract details courtesy of Cot's Contracts