By Robert Cunningham, Angelswin.com Senior Writer
As the Angels enter the 2019-2020 off-season, Billy Eppler is faced with the daunting task of taking Moreno's proposed increase in team payroll and creating a contending club out of the available resource pool. Currently, the Angels 40-man roster stands at 40 players as of November 28th, 2019.
In order to begin the discussion about available finances, the author has examined the Angels 40-man roster and assuming the Angels retain the current set of 40 players and use MLBTradeRumors.com's estimated arbitration salaries, 2020 Club Payroll will be approximately $162M and Actual Club Payroll (Average Annual Value (AAV) payroll) will be approximately $151M as seen below:
A couple of notes regarding the table above:
- Injured List $$ indicates a nominal number for MLB players that spend time on the Injured List and is an educated guess based on information provided by the Orange County Register's Jeff Fletcher.
- Payouts refers to any and all money expended on players no longer on the 40-man roster. In this case the $1M number was Kole Calhoun's option year buyout.
- Subtract Non-Roster is simply the 14 players not on the 26-man roster making League-minimum salaries that do not count toward the total payroll numbers. In this case 14 x $600K = $8.4M
- Benefits refers to Player Benefit Costs and is an educated guess (also based on information provided by Jeff Fletcher) on how much every team pays toward that fund. Below is the relevant excerpt of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that shows how it is applied to the payroll calculation:
To be clear this estimate is exactly that, an educated guess. The only difference between '2020 Club Payroll' and 'Actual Club Payroll' is that in the latter you are accounting for the multi-year guaranteed contracts (average annual value of them) and how close that places the team to the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) threshold for that season (in this case $208M for 2020).
So Eppler starts the season with approximately $147M in 2020 Club Payroll and $136M in Actual Club Payroll (AAV) and when you adjust for Player Benefits, non-roster players, Injury List (IL) payout estimates and Calhoun's $1M option buyout, the Angels start the season at $162M (2020 Club Payroll) and $151M (Actual Club Payroll).
This means that, based on Moreno's own words about raising 2020 Club Payroll, the team probably has at least $25M+ to spend in free agency and trade and likely that number is closer $30M-$40, if not more. Fortunately, because of this, the Halos have more options this off-season in terms of money and resources (both MLB-ready players, farm prospects, and International Signing money) to address their needs and create better depth across the roster.
If the Angels really are courting Gerrit Cole (and they should be), he will likely get the Angels close to their spending limit all by himself on a back loaded contract. In order to make other moves, Eppler will have to get creative in the trade market as well as executing savvy low-level free agent signings to fill in the rest of the roster. This may require Moreno to get awfully close to, or even exceed, the Luxury Tax threshold of $208M, although the team will likely stay under that number, barring a truly unexpected all-in over the next two seasons (a precise window they can escape by the way once Pujols contract expires after 2021).
Expectations are high for Eppler to create a winner in his current, last year as General Manager so Angelswin.com members and fans should expect at least one large free agent signing with perhaps 1-3 lower-level pickups. In addition to that it will not be surprising to see 1-3 trades executed to bring in additional pitching and positional needs.
All of this will be covered further as we dive deeper into the 2020 Angelswin.com Primer Series!