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Dodgers’ payroll: How much Los Angeles has to spend after signing Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Los Angeles has outlaid more than a billion dollars so far this winter. Where does the team’s financial picture stand?

Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts at press conference at Dodger Stadium. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ billion-dollar offseason. Weeks after reeling in the biggest free agent in baseball history on a record (and, granted, heavily deferred) 10-year, $700 million deal, L.A. managed to land the best remaining player on the market to another record deal — signing Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto to a 12-year, $325 million contract, the largest ever given to a pitcher. Two historic players on two historic deals, both of which have vaulted the Dodgers atop the betting market to win next year’s World Series.

It’s also just the halfway point of the team’s offseason. Los Angeles is clearly desperate to wash away the stain of last year’s embarrassing NLDS sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks. And as incredible a 1-2 as Ohtani and Yamamoto are, there are still holes to be filled, players to be signed between now and the start of spring training.

But how much money do Andrew Friedman and Co. actually have to work with after such a massive outlay? Let’s take a look at where L.A.’s financial picture currently stands, and where they might go from here.

Dodgers 2024 payroll outlook after Yamamoto signing

The table below shows where the Dodgers’ payroll is at after adding Yamamoto’s totally non-deferred deal to the books. We’ve broken it down into two columns: The team’s active payroll for 2024 — the actual salaries it will be paying out, factoring in Ohtani’s decision to only take $2 million over the life of his 10-year deal — and the team’s payroll for competitive balance tax (CBT) purposes, for which Ohtani will cost just over $46 million.

As a quick refresher: The CBT is basically baseball’s luxury tax, a predetermined payroll threshold that teams become subject to tax payments should they cross it. 2024’s number is slated to be $237 million. Teams that carry payrolls above $237 million will be taxed on each dollar above that threshold, with the tax rate increasing based on the number of consecutive years a team has exceeded it. (There are also several levels above $237 million that carry an extra surcharge: 12 percent for clearing the threshold by $20 million to $40 million, 42.5 percent for clearing it by $40 to $60 million and 60 percent for clearing it by $60 million or more.)

As a team that paid the tax in each of the 2021, 2022 and 2023 seasons, the Dodgers are subject to the highest tax rates should they exceed any of those four thresholds. The Dodgers would pay 50 percent in tax for the first $20 million ($237-$257 million), 62 percent for the next $20 million over ($257-$277 million), 95 percent for the next $20 million over ($277-$297 million) and 110 percent of anything over the final threshold of $297 million.

Got all that? Great, let’s dive in:

Dodgers 2024 payroll outlook

Player Pos Actual payroll CBT payroll Notes
Player Pos Actual payroll CBT payroll Notes
Shohei Ohtani DH/P $2,000,000 $46,076,769 1st yr of 10-yr deal
Tyler Glasnow SP $25,000,000 $27,312,500 1st yr of 5-yr deal
Yoshinobu Yamamoto SP $27,083,333 $27,083,333 1st yr of 12-yr deal
Mookie Betts 2B/RF $22,000,000 $25,554,824 4th yr of 12-yr deal
Freddie Freeman 1B $20,000,000 $24,699,249 3rd yr of 6-yr deal
Chris Taylor IF/OF $13,000,000 $15,000,000 3rd yr of 4-yr deal
Max Muncy 3B $12,000,000 $12,000,000 1st yr of 2-yr deal
Manuel Margot OF $10,000,000 $12,000,000 1 yr left + option
Jason Heyward RF $9,000,000 $9,000,000 1-year deal
Joe Kelly RP $8,000,000 $8,000,000 1-year deal
Miguel Rojas IF $5,000,000 $5,500,000 2nd yr of 2-yr deal
Tony Gonsolin SP $5,400,000 $5,325,000 2nd yr of 2-yr deal
Austin Barnes C $3,500,000 $3,500,000 2nd yr of 2-yr deal
Yency Almonte RP $1,900,000 $1,900,000 1-year deal
Blake Treinen RP $1,000,000 $1,000,000 Option exercised Nov 5
Will Smith C $9,150,000 $9,150,000 avg. arb projection
Walker Buehler SP $8,027,500 $8,027,500 avg. arb projection
Ryan Yarbrough SP/RP $3,900,000 $3,900,000 avg. arb projection
Evan Phillips RP $3,250,000 $3,250,000 avg. arb projection
Brusdar Graterol RP $2,525,000 $2,525,000 avg. arb projection
Dustin May SP $2,325,000 $2,325,000 avg. arb projection
Caleb Ferguson RP $2,275,000 $2,275,000 avg. arb projection
Alex Vesia LHP $1,350,000 $1,350,000 avg. arb projection
Gavin Lux SS $1,000,000 $1,000,000 avg. arb projection
J.P. Feyereisen RP $950,000 $950,000 avg. arb projection
Remaining 4 roster spots $3,200,000 $3,200,000 2024 minimum is $740k
Money from Rays -$2,000,000 -$2,000,000
Minor league salaries $2,500,000 MiLBers on 40-man roster
Pre-arbitration pool $1,666,667 $50m split by 30 teams
Team benefit costs $17,500,000
Totals $200,835,833 $281,570,842

As you can see, things are now pretty tight. To be clear: Signing Yamamoto was a coup, and a move the Dodgers should make 10 times out of 10. But it also brings their luxury tax bill north of $280 million, well above the CBT threshold — and incurring a pretty serious cost.

Of course, Ohtani and Yamamoto are trans-continental and extremely marketable stars, and the Dodgers were printing money even before bringing them aboard; no one, especially no opposing team, should be crying on their behalf. But it is worth considering when trying to figure out how Friedman might go about rounding out this roster. This is slated to be the most expensive team in Dodgers history — and quite possibly MLB history, once arbitration numbers and tax penalties are all sorted out — and we don’t know how much more money they’ll have to spend on, say, a fourth outfielder or a swingman. Those are rich-person roster problems, to be sure, but expect Los Angeles to keep its powder pretty dry over the next couple of months.