The Mariners finally reached deals with their remaining arbitration candidates today. David Aardsma signed for $4.5 million, which is exactly how we’d estimated him when we began our compilation of the team’s payroll. (See the updated salary chart on the opposite page).
Aardsma can also reach another $325,000 in incentives based on the games he finishes for the club in 2011. He gets $50,000 for the first 35 games he finishes, $50,000 more for finishing 40 games, then $75,000 more when he hits each of the 45-game, 50-game and 55-game plateaus.
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That’s not just for saves. If he pitches in the eighth inning of a loss on the road, he gets credit for a game finished. And not only for the Mariners. If he gets traded midway through the season, the contract incentives still apply and the teams doing the deal will have to work out who pays for it.
We still don’t have word on the figures for Jason Vargas or Brandon League. But we’re getting close to an accurate payroll projection. In fact, I’d say it’s pretty accurate as it stands. Things won’t be changing much from the $90 million or so already committed to a maximum $93.5 million payroll this coming season.
MARINERS SALARIES AND PRO-RATED BONUSES FOR 2011
Milton Bradley 12,000,000
Chone Figgins 9,500,000
Felix Hernandez 11,700,000
Jack Wilson 5,000,000
David Aardsma 4,500,000
Franklin Gutierrez 4,312,500
Miguel Olivo 2,750,000
Jack Cust 2,500,000
Jason Vargas 2,500,000 est
Brandon League 2,500,000 est
Dustin Ackley 1,500,000
Erik Bedard 1,000,000
Brendan Ryan 1,000,000
Josh Wilson 725,000
Michael Saunders 435,000 est
Shawn Kelley 435,000 est
Doug Fister 435,000 est
Adam Moore 430,000 est
Justin Smoak 430,000 est
Garrett Olson 424,000 est
Matt Tuiasosopo 424,000 est
Dan Cortes 414,000 est
Cesar Jimenez 414,000 est
Josh Lueke 414,000 est
Michael Pineda 414,000 est
Carlos Silva money to Cubs — 4,500,000
Yuniesky Betancourt salary — 1,000,000
That’s $83,176,500 in estimated payroll for existing players plus another $5.5 million for guys no longer here, which brings us to roughly $88.7 million total.
Throw another $1 million on that to cover realistic incentives in these contracts, you’re at about $90 million. That leaves about $3.5 million left over, which covers a little more than half the potential incentives that Erik Bedard could make. Don’t forget as well, if Josh Bard makes the team at $750,000, he’ll earn over $250,000 more than minimum wager Adam Moore would have.
Adam Kennedy and Josh Wilson would be about a wash in salary if they flip-flopped and Wilson goes to Class AAA.
According to a report yesterday by Greg Johns of MLB.com, both Bard and Kennedy can become free agents if they don’t make the club out of spring training.
So, bottom line is, the team has very little to play with. Which is why you’ve seen pitchers like Chris Capuano and Jeff Francis sign elsewhere for minimal seven-figure money when they could have theoretically helped the Mariners.
Even if the League and Vargas money is a combined $1 million or so less than we’ve estimated, the team still has to set aside some cash in the event of Bedard having a stunning season, or a few more of other players’ incentives getting reached than the $1 million I’ve budgeted for.
There just isn’t room to add a seven-figure player, based on these numbers.
So, what you see is pretty much what you get.