Players With Potentially Expiring Contracts In 2016: Trade Bait, CBA + Payroll Implications

In the last year of the current CBA, there is potentially only one more year to take advantage of a feeble penalty as a first time abuser in 2016. With Boston set to join the Dodgers and Yankees as abusers, I took a look at other teams who should consider the 2016 campaign as a rare gamble to dole out some cash in seeking a World Series trophy before the new CBA is authored in prior to the 2017 season.

In the last year of the current CBA, there is potentially only one more year to take advantage of a feeble penalty as a first time abuser in 2016. With Boston set to join the Dodgers and Yankees as abusers, I took a look at other teams who should consider the 2016 campaign as a rare gamble to dole out some cash in seeking a World Series trophy before the new CBA is authored in prior to the 2017 season.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part-Owner) 

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The Boston Red Sox might just be on to something.  They will be penalized for the 1st year of going over the new $189 MIL limit in 2016, but it is also the last year the CBA may have the percentages.

Currently right now, there is a 17.5% penalty for spending dollars over $189 MIL.  The Dodgers and Yankees are the only other teams that are budgeted over the mark in addition to Boston.

On the cusp are the Detroit Tigers, sitting at around $177 MIL – while the Giants and Angels are nearly at $170 MIL.  The Cubs are also near the $165 MIL area.

Why not spend like crazy in 2016 – and take advantage of the system as it is presented towards you?

The Tigers are already at a budget of near $180 MIL - and could still use another Starting Pitcher and OF to add to the mix. What if they were to sign Yoenis Cespedes and then add another Starter - this could bring them over the $200 MIL barrier. With just a penalty of 17.5%, it would not cost the club more than about $5 in fees if that were to happen. They and the Angels would have the most to gain by crossing the Luxury Tax limit.

The Tigers are already at a budget of near $180 MIL – and could still use another Pitcher for the rotation and OF to add to the mix. What if they were to sign Yoenis Cespedes and then add another Starter – this could bring them over the $200 MIL barrier. With just a penalty of 17.5%, it would not cost the club more than about $5 MIL in fees if that were to happen. They and the Angels would have the most to gain by crossing the Luxury Tax limit.

Chicago has that dollar amount even though they are not paying any of their young talented players like Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, Javier Baez and Jorge Soler that much cash yet, and Anthony Rizzo makes little money in comparison to his real value (Is owed just $25 MIL for the next 3 years, before two straight Team Options come at just $12.5 MIL per 2020 and 2021 year.)

With adding the contracts of David Price and Craig Kimbrel in recent player moves, this pushes Boston to near $200 MIL in team payroll for 2016. I think they should try to add a few pitchers near the 2016 Trade deadline. With a lot of money tied up in the future, any player they take on should have their contracts end in 2016. Boston stands to pay 17.5% for money spent over the $189 MIL limit. They could run with a $220 MIL salaried club in 2016 and only pay around $6 MIL in additional fees. Do it, and pale it back afterwards.

With adding the contracts of David Price and Craig Kimbrel in recent player moves, this pushes Boston to near $200 MIL in team payroll for 2016. I think they should try to add a few pitchers near the 2016 Trade deadline. With a lot of money tied up in the future, any player they take on should have their contracts end in 2016. Boston stands to pay 17.5% for money spent over the $189 MIL limit. They could run with a $220 MIL salaried club in 2016 and only pay around $6 MIL in additional fees. Do it, and pale it back afterwards.

The Yankees and Dodgers are both in the 50% penalty in 2016, and have to consider any acquisition they make at a 50% penalty for dollars spent.  I am in the opinion that these clubs have to spend $25 – $35 MIL on players in the open market just to make the playoffs next year.

Detroit is aging rapidly, and as such should really take a run at the title in 2016.  Mike Illitch and the brass should realize this is the last chance.  How long can Miguel Cabrera play MVP caliber baseball?  Perhaps inking Yoenis Cespedes to a deal is not crazy in Motown after all.

The Angels are still in need of one more Infielder, one Outfielder, a stronger bench and potentially one starter. With Albert Pujols aging, and having the last years of C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver coming up, they could easily sign a few players and enter over the Luxury Tax mark of $189 MIL. They also are on the hook to Josh Hamilton for $26 MIL this season even though he is off the team.

The Angels are still in need of one more Infielder, one Outfielder, a stronger bench and potentially one starter. With Albert Pujols aging, and having the last years of C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver coming up, they could easily sign a few players and enter over the Luxury Tax mark of $189 MIL. They also are on the hook to Josh Hamilton for $26 MIL this season even though he is off the team.

The LA Angels are also in dire need of a 3B, some pitching help, and a corner OF to play alongside Mike Trout and Cole Kalhoun.  Would Arte Moreno consent for a one year spike?

Can you imagine if the Cubs just got greedy and signed one of the remaining Free Agent top players like Cespedes, Justin Upton, and then cleared enough room to make a Jose Fernandez deal?

Don’t tell me Miami wouldn’t listen to a deal that may include Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez and Jorge Soler as part of a package of 5 – 6 players.

The best way to take advantage of this system is to trade for players in the mid year – on the last year of their deals, and then you have to pay for just 1/3rd of their salary.

Below is a list of players that are with teams that may miss the playoffs, making some players available to add salary wise.  Right now I am projecting the Angels to miss the postseason, and as such, will make C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver available on this list.

I also have Seattle outside the playoff bar.

If you want to just read this as possible Trade Deadline players available, than this is another just scenario for these players.

2016 Salaries – 2017 Free Agents

A list of costly players, but in the last year of their contracts, are:  C.J. Wilson ($20.5 MIL), Jered Weaver ($20.2 MIL), Matt Wieters ($15.88 MIL), John Danks ($15.8 MIL), Adam LaRoche ($13.0 MIL), Jorge De La Rosa ($12.5 MIL), Aaron Hill, ($12.0 MIL) Martin Prado ($11.0 MIL), James Loney ($9.7 MIL), Erick Aybar ($8.8 MIL), Adam Lind ($8.0 MIL), Joaquin Benoit and Mike Napoli make $7 MIL.  All of these guys could be candidates.

The next set of players are guys in the final year of their Arbitration (would only cost through 2016 and are Free Agents in 2017.)

Aroldis Chapman $12.9 MIL

Mark Melancon $10.0 MIL (Pirates may trade him for financial flexibility)

Mark Trumbo $9.1 MIL

Drew Storen $8.8 MIL (wants out of WSH, they have Depth.)

Brandon Moss $7.9 MIL (tradeable because of Roster Depth.)

Josh Reddick $7.0 MIL

Andrew Cashner $7.0 MIL

Among 2016 Free Agents, maybe the above mentioned clubs would spend more on giving the guys a 1 year deal to secure their services.

Candidates for that (1 Year deals)

Doug Fister, Howie Kendrick, Ian Desmond, Denard Span, Dexter Fowler, Pedro Alvarez, Chris Carter, John Jaso and Tyler Clippard fit into this type of deal.  Maybe a team would throw them an offer worth $4 – 5 MIL more than what they could get (AAV on a multi-year contract).

Fowler, Kendrick and Desmond are the only players on this list that were given a Qualifying Offer.  As such it would cost a 1st RD pick for a team signing them.  Seemingly ridiculous for a one year offer – I understand this.  I still think if that QO were to be $16 – $18 MIL maybe they would take it.

Those 2 players may be without a contract offer into March.  If that were the case as in past years with Ervin Santana, Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew all signing way into springs after rejecting QO’s, than it would be a facesaver to sign a deal in the neighborhood of the mark.

The Los Angeles Angels are going to be without Albert Pujols to start the year.  They have several bad contracts this year, and are paying Josh Hamilton, but how many years of competitive fire do they have.

If they could spend $35 – $40 more Million, maybe they could sign a few of those Free Agents.  Fowler or Span would work, and maybe bring in a Doug Fister.

Heck, it was believed they were in the running for Jason Heyward.

The Cubs are the prohibitive favorite to win the 2016 World Series, but what if they were to sign or acquire another 2 - 3 player upgrades. This would only help their chances for the coming year.

The Cubs are the prohibitive favorite to win the 2016 World Series, but what if they were to sign or acquire another 2 – 3 player upgrades. This would only help their chances for the coming year.  It would seem hard to spend another $30 MIL on player contracts, but the team could ink another Starting Pitcher or 2 and still have plenty to trade for upgrades throughout the year with Soler and Baez still on the roster.  Chicago’s payroll is around $160 MIL already for 2016.

They should think about bringing back Howie Kendrick, and a Left Handed bat DH/1B type like John Jaso would be perfect for a one year deal. Maybe even a Chris Carter, who has bashed out 90 HRs over the last 3 years.  The Halo’s still need to fill the 3B position.

Maybe they will resign David Freese for a one year deal too.

The San Francisco Giants want to cement their legacy as a dynasty – by winning their 4th title in the decade.  Really, they could use another Reliever.  Maybe they deal for a Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon or Drew Storen to solidify the late innings.

I wouldn’t put it past the Giants to make a trade for another OF midway through the year.  San Fran is only $20 MIL away from the threshold.  Maybe they would even resign Tim Lincecum to work out of a swingman role for the Staff.

The Giants have won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014 recently. A lot of the core is still intact for 2016 - and they have added Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to their Starting Rotation. The Dodgers have had one of the worst winter's in the Majors so far - and must counter with a premiere player left on the open market

The Giants have won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014 recently. A lot of the core is still intact for 2016 – and they have added Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to their Starting Rotation. The Dodgers have had one of the worst winter’s in the Majors so far – and must counter with a premiere player left on the open market. If LA does rise to this challenge, San Francisco should think about exceeding the Luxury Tax Threshold by signing guys – or acquiring them for the last years of their contracts in 2016 to one up the Dodgers yet again. Presently, SF is around the $170 MIL mark for total team salary.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A Big thanks goes out to our chief writer Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s feature post.

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Posted on December 22, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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