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Oakland A’s payroll estimate 2017-19, with 2017 MLBTR arbitration estimates

Oakland's youth movement and the potential non-tender of third-year arbitration players means the Athletics have quite a bit of payroll room to spare this offseason.

Matt Swartz’s arbitration estimates have been published at MLB Trade Rumors, and now we can plug those numbers into the payroll spreadsheet to produce an active roster payroll estimate of around $65 million to start the 2016-17 offseason and not much escalation over the next few years. That should give the A's around $20-30 million to consider spending on free agents this offseason even before considering the potential release of non-tender candidates Danny Valencia and Yonder Alonso.

The A’s have six arbitration-eligible players this year, the 2017 figures are from the MLBTR estimate (listed in italics with an asterisk*), and 2018-19 arbitration figures are just my best rough guess:

Oakland A's 25-man and contracted players payroll projection (2017 arbitration estimates from MLBTR)
Player 2017 2018 2019 Type
Position Players Jed Lowrie $6,500,000 Buyout ($6M team) Contract
Danny Valencia $5,300,000* FA Arbitration
Yonder Alonso $4,100,000* FA Arbitration
Khris Davis $5,000,000* $10,000,000 $15,000,000 Arbitration
Stephen Vogt $3,700,000* $7,000,000 $10,000,000 Arbitration
Marcus Semien $515,000 $4,000,000 $8,000,000 Arbitration
Josh Phegley $515,000 $1,500,000 $2,500,000 Arbitration
Mark Canha $515,000 $1,500,000 $2,500,000 Arbitration
Pre-arb Position players $2,575,000 $4,180,000 $4,240,000
Starters Sonny Gray $3,700,000* $7,000,000 $11,000,000 Arbitration
Kendall Graveman $515,000 $3,000,000 $6,000,000 Arbitration
Pre-arb starters $1,545,000 $1,567,500 $1,590,000
Bullpen John Axford $5,500,000 FA Contract
Ryan Madson $7,500,000 $7,500,000 FA Contract
Sean Doolittle $2,630,000 $4,350,000 Buyout ($6M team) Contract
Liam Hendriks $1,000,000* $2,000,000 $3,000,000 Arbitration
Pre-arb relievers $1,545,000 $2,090,000 $3,180,000
Billy Butler (Released) $10,000,000
Coco Crisp (Buyout) $750,000
Jed Lowrie (Buyout) $1,000,000
Sean Doolittle (Buyout) $500,000
September callups $1,200,000 $1,200,000 $1,300,000
GRAND TOTAL $63,855,000 $57,887,500 $68,810,000

Some items of note:

  • Home runs mean big bucks at arbitration, and Matt Swartz's arbitration model has Khris Davis is earning $5,000,000 on his 102 career home runs. I had him at $4,000,000 in my midseason estimate.
  • Marcus Semien's two years, 118 days of service time will be, as expected, a week or two short of Super 2 eligibility, according to MLB Trade Rumors' Tim Dierkes.
  • By my count, Jesse Hahn was only on Oakland's active roster or major league disabled list for 61 days. That means he finishes the year with one year, 147 days of service time, 25 days short of clicking over to two years. That means the A's have gained at least an extra year of team control over Hahn, though whether he's able to stay healthy and play well enough for that extra year to be worth anything is the $64,000 question. Hahn has an option year remaining.
  • The other big expense lopped off the 2017 projection is Henderson Alvarez, who elected free agency after the A's outrighted him following his lost season to shoulder issues. It was always a risk, but it really is too bad it didn't work out. His repertoire would have been entertaining to watch. If he had pitched even a little bit I had him around $5.5 million for his final arbitration year at my midseason estimate.
  • UPDATE: As "grover" notes in the comments, the A's have effectively shifted their 2017 obligation to pay for Coco Crisp's buyout into 2016 with the cash they sent to Cleveland. The 2017 total payroll estimate has been cut by $750,000 from the figure originally published.