Earlier this week, we learned that Yankees GM Brian Cashman’s preference was to keep his team’s payroll below the 2019 luxury tax (officially known as the competitive balance tax) threshold of $206 million. The Dodgers plan to join the Yankees under that threshold, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. The Dodgers apparently said as much in a document they prepared for potential investors.
The Red Sox and Nationals were the only teams to cross the luxury tax threshold for the 2018 season, as Craig noted in September. Both the Dodgers and Yankees got hit with the tax last year. By having a year where they don’t cross the threshold, both teams reset their penalties for doing so in the future. Otherwise, consecutive seasons crossing the threshold result in increasingly harsher penalties.
According to Cot’s Contracts, the Dodgers’ current payroll stands at about $183 million. They have a bunch of arbitration-eligible players, so we could see some non-tenders by the November 30 deadline. Those players include Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, Joc Pederson, Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernández, Corey Seager, and Pedro Báez. The Dodgers also made $17.9 million qualifying offers to Yasmani Grandal and Hyun-Jin Ryu. In the document, the Dodgers project payroll to stand at $185 million in 2019 and ’20, $191 million in 2021, and $196 million in 2022. An official Shaikin talked to, however, said he would be “shocked” if the Dodgers didn’t cross $200 million for the 2019 season.
It’s not shocking, but still disappointing, to hear that a team that reached back-to-back World Series isn’t going to try even harder to reach the ultimate goal. Forbes valued the Dodgers in April this year at about $3 billion. But the luxury tax threshold was always going to be used as a soft salary cap. Craig said as much when the last collective bargaining agreement was made official.