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Oakland A’s 2021 payroll update after arbitration decisions

Slightly more clarity about where the team’s salaries stand

Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s agreed to 2021 salaries with a few of their arbitration-eligible players this week. On top of that, the early data from those settlements gives us a clue about how to estimate the remaining arbitration players who were tendered contracts but don’t have their salaries decided.

With that in mind, here’s the latest update on the A’s payroll for next season. There’s still a long way to go, with six more arbitration cases to settle, and several roster holes to fill, and there’s always a chance of a trade with this team. But for now, here’s a snapshot.


These are guaranteed, except for a few of the arbitration players. (We’ll just assume they’re all guaranteed for now.)

  • Khris Davis: $16.75m
  • Stephen Piscotty: $7.58m
  • Matt Olson: $5m
  • Jake Diekman: $4m
  • Chad Pinder: $2.275m
  • Tony Kemp: $1.05m
  • Burch Smith: $0.705m

That adds up to $37.36 million, for seven players.

Arbitration cases

These are still up in the air. MLB Trade Rumors offered three different possible methods with their annual proiections, and the real answers are turning out to be around the middle. Here’s what Roster Resource guesses for the A’s:

  • Mark Canha: $6.8m
  • Sean Manaea: $5.3m
  • Chris Bassitt: $4.35m
  • Matt Chapman: $3.6m
  • Frankie Montas: $2m
  • Lou Trivino: $1m

That’s another $23.05 million, bringing our total to $60.41 million for 13 players.

Rest of the roster

That leaves another 13 spots on the 26-man roster. Some of them will be taken by players on the minimum salary or close to it, which should be around $570,000 next summer. That includes notable names like Ramon Laureano, Jesús Luzardo, Sean Murphy, and others who have not yet reached arbitration.

If you fill the rest of the roster this way, then you can add around $8 million. If you figure that a few free agents will come on board, then maybe you knock the minimum-salary spots down to 10 and call it $6 million.

Bottom line

Add it all up, and the current payroll appears to be a little over $68 million total. Or, if you want to plan ahead and replace a few minimum salaries with bigger new signings, then you could think of it as “$66 million plus three free agents.”

A week ago, we would have guessed the figure was more like $74 million, using the highest projections for arbitration. But the initial arby payouts came out below that, so this lower estimate seems more accurate now. That’s good news, because every dollar counts in Oakland.

Note: Roster Resource is reading $72 million, because they’re crediting over $11 million to the minimum-salary players. Not sure why that is, as that number seems way too high, unless they’re filling more than 26 spots (or maybe they’re accidentally doubling up on the roster spots for the six remaining arby players?).