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Where Dodgers’ payroll stands amid billion-dollar offseason and what roster holes LA still has to fill

Where Dodgers' payroll stands amid billion-dollar offseason and what roster holes LA still has to fill

The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the middle of a billion-dollar offseason. Thursday night, Los Angeles agreed to a 12-year contract worth $325 million with Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto. It is the largest pitching contract in history. The Dodgers also owe Yamamoto’s former team, the Orix Buffaloes, a $50 million posting fee. All-in, Yamamoto is a $375 million investment.

In addition to Yamamoto, the Dodgers of course also signed Shohei Ohtani to a mammoth $700 million contract (with heavy deferrals), plus they traded for — and extended — Tyler Glasnow. Between Ohtani’s and Yamamoto’s contracts, and Glasnow’s extension, the Dodgers have handed out approximately $1.145 billion in contracts this offseason. Billion. With a B.

The thing is, Los Angeles has not run up an exorbitant 2024 payroll even with their busy offseason. Ohtani’s deferrals — he will only be paid $2 million a year for the next 10 years — certainly helps with that, but the Dodgers have been planning for this offseason and specifically Ohtani’s free agency for several years now. Their payroll is lower than you may realize (which still being high).

1. Dodgers: $285 million

1. Mets: $298 million

2. Mets: $284 million

2. Yankees: $290 million

3. Yankees: $279 million

3. Dodgers: $282 million

4. Phillies: $237 million

4. Braves: $269 million

5. Braves: $230 million

5. Phillies: $252 million

Those payroll estimates include arbitration projections — arbitration salaries won’t be finalized for another few weeks — and come courtesy of FanGraphs. The Dodgers are presently at $282 million for CBT purposes, which is indeed very high, but is also nowhere close to their record. They had a $293 million CBT payroll in 2022 and a $298 million CBT payroll all the way back in 2015.

Ohtani’s actually salary will only be $2 million in 2024, though his CBT payroll number will be approximately $46 million, the highest in the sport. Even at the full $70 million, which is what Ohtani’s CBT number would be without the deferrals, the club’s CBT payroll would be $306 million. The Mets were at $366 million this past season. Payroll is high but not particularly close to a record.

This is a long way of saying the Dodgers are not tapped out. They still have plenty of CBT payroll flexibility to improve the roster around Ohtani and Yamamoto (and Glasnow and Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman) and they’re going to, right? Why invest so much in Ohtani and…

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