The Oakland A’s payroll for the 2021 season currently stands around $72 million, between the 13 players they have under contract plus enough minimum-salary spots to fill out the rest of the roster. There are still a couple weeks left before spring training so another move isn’t impossible, but they’ve made clear that they aren’t likely to spend any more money.
Elsewhere in the majors, Trevor Bauer signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, and his salary for the coming season is $40 million.
That’s the highest payday in MLB history, but some of his teammates aren’t far behind. In particular, fellow Cy Young-winning starting pitcher David Price is set to make $32 million.
Together, Bauer and Price will earn $72 million in 2021. That’s the same as the entire A’s 26-man roster.
Last year Price didn’t play for the Dodgers, opting out due to the coronavirus pandemic and forfeiting his 2020 salary. If that were to happen again, or if he were traded away from a team that now has eight quality starters in their rotation, then L.A. also has their actual ace, Clayton Kershaw, making $31 million in 2021. Kershaw and Bauer combined would fall just short of matching the A’s on their own, but, close enough.
What’s more, the Dodgers won the World Series last year, and they did so without both Bauer (who was on a different team) and Price (who didn’t play at all). Now they’re adding an entire A’s payroll to their already championship rotation ... assuming Price even makes their stacked starting five.
The Dodgers aren’t the only team with a duo who approaches Oakland’s full budget. The Washington Nationals will pay Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg around $35 million each, totaling $70 million. The Angels are next on the list, with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols pulling down $67 million together (and in 2022 Anthony Rendon will get a raise, and he and Trout will team up for nearly $74 million). Just behind the Halos this summer are the New York Yankees, with Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton accounting for $65 million.
Despite registering $20 million below last year’s Opening Day payroll, Oakland doesn’t have the smallest outlay in the majors right now. The Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates are both set to spend around $47 million on their full rosters, and the Pirates could drop even lower if they trade away second baseman Adam Frazier and/or other veterans. For now, Bauer isn’t quite making more than any full MLB teams, but the margin is thin and it could happen by the end of March.
Sorry for the bummer of an article, Athletics Nation. To make up for it, here’s a video of Rickey Henderson playing with Finn the Bat Dog.