Someone in another thread was asking for current payroll information. Here's an approximation of what the roster would look like if the season started now, along with 2005 salaries in millions. Players with less than 3 years service time are assumed to be making very close to the league minimum of $300k, as is standard. Salaries for Durazo, Dotel, Byrnes, Cruz and Kielty are my best guess of what they will make in arbitration or in a 2- or 3-year extension.
TOTAL 15 MILLION
(other candidates: Harikkala, Etherton, Mabeus, T. Johnson, Garcia, Rheinecker)
TOTAL 9 MILLION
(other candidates: Watson)
TOTAL 28.2 MILLION
(other candidates: Johnson, Scutaro)
So that comes to a little over $52 million for the 25 man roster. There are another $2 million of buyouts to Dye and Karros that may also be counted against this year's budget. If the reports of a $58 million budget for this year (which was just around last year's number) are correct, Beane will still have $3-$4 million to play with, and that number could go up to as much as $8 million if a couple of the mid-salary players (Byrnes, Rincon, Hatteberg) are traded. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, Beane does with that money. It's not enough to get one of the top-tier free agents - Beltran will get way more than that, and Drew is a little out of the price rangeand probably too big a risk for Billy anyway - and the second-tier free agents, in the $4-$7 million per year range have mostly been getting way more than they're worth this offseason.