A quick word about the Angels’ payroll …

I keep getting questions about the 2013 payroll and how much money Jerry Dipoto can spend on starting pitching, but it’s hard to give a definite answer because the Angels won’t publicly say where they project it.

As I’ve written all along, though, my best assumption for 2013 — based on conversations with others, and simply the Angels’ approach thus far — is that they’ll be somewhere between $140 and $145 million; maybe a little less, maybe a little more. It won’t be $159 million like last year.

If that ends up being the case, it leaves them with less than you might think.

Here’s a breakdown, with a little help from The Count 

* The Angels owe just over $96 million to the following eight players: Vernon Wells, Jered Weaver, Albert PujolsC.J. Wilson, Howie Kendrick, Erick AybarChris Iannetta and Scott Downs.

* Ryan Madson, the ninth signed player, could make somewhere between $3.5 million and $7 million. Let’s assume, for the purposes of this exercise, that he makes $6 million — easily attainable if healthy. That puts them at $102 million.

* The Angels paid $3.5 million to buy out Dan Haren‘s option, and they paid the Royals $1 million in sending Ervin Santana to Kansas City. That’s now roughly $107 million (we’ll round up).

* The Angels will tender contracts to all four of their arbitration-eligible players. If we’re using MLBTradeRumors.com’s arbitration projections — about as accurate as you can find — that puts Kendrys Morales ($4.8 million), Alberto Callaspo ($4.2 million), Jerome Williams ($1.9 million) and Kevin Jepsen ($1.1 million) at a combined $12 million. Now we’re looking at about $119 million.

* You’d think that leaves them with somewhere between $21 to $26 million based on the earlier payroll projection, right? Well, you have to account for everyone else. I’ve currently listed 13 active players the Angels are accounting for on their 25-man roster. Let’s say they sign two starters and nothing more. That’s 15, leaving them with 10 players who make the Major League minimum because they’re between zero to three years of service time. Those contracts are usually about $500,000, so that’s an additional $5 million, putting them at $124 million.

If we bump that up to $125 million — some of the arbitration guys may get a little more; the Angels may pay Mike Trout a little extra after his near-MVP season — that leaves them with $15 to $20 million, if my payroll projection holds true. I’ve been told the Angels likely won’t be paying Zack Greinke $150 million on a six-year contract (an average of $25 million a year), and perhaps you can see why based on this breakdown. Will he really get that much? That’s the big question. Are they out on Greinke? I wouldn’t go that far just yet.

But the Angels need two starters, and if Greinke prices himself out of Anaheim, the alternate route could be to sign one mid-rotation starter, one innings-eater and more relievers.

Obligatory PSA: The current payroll is a rough estimation, and the payroll projection is an educated guess. I’m just trying to provide as clear a picture as I can. We won’t know for sure until the offseason concludes — and as last year showed, anything can happen.



why the team is(maybe) trying to reduce payroll when the t.v. contract is providing the opportunity to contend for many years? even if economy worsens more fans will flock to the stadium if we can have a perennial contender.

Let’s say that their ideal payroll gives them $20 million to play around with. Would that preclude them from signing Greinke if it takes $25 million per year? I don’t think so, given that Wells is gone after two seasons at the most.

And even if they back-load the contract, if they give him six years, it still expires three years before the back-loaded Pujols contract does. I don’t see DiPoto painting the team into a payroll corner by not looking 5-10 years down the road, or Moreno allowing $5 million per year for two years to be what keeps them from signing the best free agent pitcher available this year.

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