Today I updated the 2014 40-man roster and payroll page, adding all of the moves from the September call-ups. Typically, these are the final moves that need to be added to get a payroll estimate for the year. There’s a chance that the Pirates could call up more players, or acquire help for the stretch in September via a waiver claim, but that wouldn’t lead to a massive increase. When it comes to a payroll range for the season, we now have our estimate.
The current estimate is $79,380,740. That number isn’t official, and can sometimes be off by anywhere from $1-5 M. Last year’s estimate was the closest we’ve gotten, with the estimate at $74.46 M, and the actual payroll at $75 M.
This year the Opening Day payroll started at just under $75 M. That means they added a little over $4 M during the season. Most of these expenses were on waiver claims and roster moves, such as promotions and demotions for depth purposes. The biggest individual expense was John Axford, who will cost the Pirates a little over $1.1 M. (UPDATE: I forgot about Ike Davis, who was added a few weeks into the season. Davis added just over $3 M, although the overall hit was a little less than that when you consider that he replaced someone making the league minimum.) Ernesto Frieri would count, although that trade actually saved the Pirates a small amount of money, since it sent Jason Grilli’s salary away.
Overall, the projections show an increase over the 2013 end-of-year totals. It’s not a massive difference, and definitely not the difference that a lot of Pirates’ fans wanted to see. With the new revenue coming into MLB, the expectation was that payroll would see a massive boost, combined with an increase in ticket sales and a trip to the playoffs last year. The new revenue didn’t actually see a massive increase in spending around the league, as the average Opening Day payroll saw an $8.5 M increase.
The Pirates definitely had extra money to spend this year. They offered A.J. Burnett $12 M, made a run at James Loney, and tried to deal for guys like David Price, Jon Lester, and others at the deadline. That money would still be there to spend next season, which means they should be able to go after Russell Martin if the price isn’t ridiculous (aka, if a team like the Dodgers doesn’t step in and try to sign Martin at any price).
Links and Notes
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.