After acquiring Phillies second baseman Chase Utley on Wednesday for the stretch run of the 2015 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers crept very close to becoming the first MLB team with a $300 million luxury-tax payroll.
Utley will be paid $2.13 million for the remainder of the season, raising the team’s luxury tax payroll to roughly $298.5 million, Any bonuses for other players or award bonuses post-season will push the Dodgers over $300 million.
Luxury tax payrolls are comprised of totaling the average annual values of contracts for the team plus team benefits including health and pension plans, as well as payroll, unemployment and Social Security taxes the teams pay. The Dodgers luxury tax payroll includes roughly $40 million paid to players who have left the team.
Baltimore Orioles All-Star outfielder Adam Jones was unimpressed, telling ESPN, “That’s fine. They haven’t won the championship. You still have to play between the lines — same thing with the Yankees in the ’90s and 2000s. It’s baseball, man. Our union is tough enough to fight for our rights, and we don’t have a salary cap. Los Angeles is the second-biggest city in the United States. They can support it. I don’t have to pay it!”
The Dodgers will pay taxes of about $44 million, surpassing the record tax bill of the 2005 Yankees, who paid $34 million. Last year, the Dodgers paid $26.6 million for their $277.7 million tax payroll.
The Dodgers’ 2015 payroll includes these season salaries:
Clayton Kershaw: $30 million
Zack Greinke: $23 million
Carl Crawford: $20.5 million
Adrian Gonzales: $20 million
Andre Ethier: $18 million
Brandon McCarthy: $17 million
Jimmy Rollins: $10 million
Brett Anderson: $10 million
Howie Kendrick: $9.5 million
Kenley Jansen: $7. 425 million
Yasel Puig: $4.5 million
A. J. Ellis: $4.25 million
Alex Guerrero and J.P. Howell: $4 million
Utley has bounced back strongly from his early-season woes. In the first 65 games he played, he batted .179. But in the last eight games since returning from injury, he has batted a red-hot .484.