Mets have top payroll, Dodgers drop with Bauer suspension

NEW YORK – The Mets are on track for baseball’s highest payroll for the first time since 1989, a record-tying six teams set to pay penalties for spending.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who started the season as the top spenders, dropped to second place due to the suspension of Trevor Bauer.

New York entered the final full month of the season with a $273.9 million payroll, according to updated data as of August 31 complied with by Major League Baseball. The Dodgers are second with $267.2 million, followed by the New York Yankees with $254.4 million.

The Mets are expected to win their first World Series title since 1986.

“I expect the Mets to be the last team standing. What’s left now? I mean, so we get up every day in the morning,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said on Sunday. “It’s kind of cold. It’s kind of brutal, but I’d like to know it beforehand for what the final game should be. Some people in their whole life do not know what success is supposed to be. No one here has to tell how we’re doing. There is a scoreboard and standings. There it is. If you don’t like it, better play.”

Mets pitcher Max Scherzer, at a big league-high $43.3 million, makes about $5 million less than the full Oakland team and joins teammates Jacob DeGrom and Francisco Lindor for about $103 million — out of 30 clubs. more than eight.

When the Mets last topped MLB in payroll, their total was $21.3 million.

The Dodgers’ payroll dropped when Bauer was suspended for two years without pay on April 29 for violating the sport’s domestic violence policy. Bauer’s 2022 salary was $32 million, but what he owed at the time of the suspension was reduced: $3.8 million. He is challenging the discipline before an arbitrator.

Los Angeles led the payroll in both 2020 and 2021. The Dodgers set a payroll record in 2015 with $291 million.

The Mets’ payroll has grown steadily since Steven Cohen bought the team from the Wilpon and Katz families after the 2020 season. Mets spending jumped from $146 million in 2019 to $199 million last year, the first season since the pandemic, and negotiators said a new tax limit was aimed at them last March. Cohen then quipped: “It’s better than a bridge in your name.”

For the purposes of the luxury tax, which uses average annual values ​​for players on the 40-man roster, the Mets are on track to set a record $298.8 million and eclipse the 2015 Dodgers’ $297.9 million. The luxury tax payroll includes more than $16 million per team for benefits and $1.67 million for each club’s share of the new $50 million pool for pre-arbitration players.

The Mets are in line for a tax of $29.9 million, midseason trades boosting their tax payroll from an opening day projection of $289.3 million and ending a 99-day lockout beyond the new $290 million limit in March agreement .

The Dodgers opened this season with a $310 million tax payroll, on track to pay a record fine of $47 million. His tax payroll had dropped to $289.96 million as of August 31, leaving him subject to the Cohen tax. With higher tax rates as a repeat offender, the Dodgers are on track to pay $29.4 million.

The Yankees have a tax payroll of $267 million and estimated taxes of $9.4 million, and the Phillies will owe $2.6 million on $243 million.

Boston will owe approximately $900,000, just above the first limit of $234.5 million. After paying taxes for the first time last year, San Diego is the second delinquent with a payroll of about $233 million and taxes of just over $800,000.

The four tax limits for this year are $230 million, $250 million, $270 million and $290 million.

First-time offenders pay 20% on the amount above the first limit, 32% over the second, 62.5% above the third, and 80% above the fourth.

As a repeat offender, the Dodgers pay 30% above the first, 42% above the second, 75% above the third, and 90% above the fourth.

The Yankees have paid $348 million in taxes since penalties began in 2003, followed by the Dodgers who paid $182 million.

Only once the first six teams have paid the tax, the Dodgers and Yankees were joined in 2016 by the Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Detroit and San Francisco for a total of $74 million.

Oakland has the lowest regular payroll of $49 million and the lowest tax payroll of $65 million.

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