How Much Did the Pirates Spend in 2018?

One of the key features of this site since the beginning has been tracking the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 40-man payroll totals. We take all of the known salaries on the 40-man roster, and provide estimates for the unknown salaries, then keep track throughout the season of the updated totals.

The final amounts aren’t always accurate, due to the unknown salaries. However, the amounts are typically in the ballpark, some years even within a million dollars of the actual totals. The more accurate thing with this study is seeing how much the Pirates added throughout the season, and where they added payroll.

This year we ended with $89,278,414 for the 2018 Pirates. That figure is lower than their totals the last two years, which were around $109 M each year, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts, which I believe uses the official AP released end-of-year numbers. The actual amount might be higher or lower when the official numbers come out at the end of this year.

We had the Pirates starting the year with an estimated $83.7 M payroll, which means they added about $5.5 M this year. Here is where they added:

**The trade deadline additions of Chris Archer and Keone Kela only added about $2.5 M in payroll when looking only at their salaries. The amounts actually go down a bit when you consider that the Pirates subtracted MLB salaries of Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows. Those salaries were closer to the league minimum, but that takes the total trade deadline additions closer to $2 M.

**The original projection had Jung Ho Kang’s full salary removed, assuming he wouldn’t return. He did return, and the salary he received was about $1.7 M after being activated from the restricted list.

**The Pirates saved about $1 M combined by trading David Freese, and by letting George Kontos go early in the season.

**The rest of the additions, which would amount to about $2.5 M, came via typical in-season moves, which include calling people up as injury replacements, waiver claims, and September call-ups.

The Pirates’ payroll was down this year, which was expected from the start after they traded Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole. A key takeaway here is that they finished around $90 M, which could be a figure to remember when estimating their 2019 budget.

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