It's easy to design the 2020 World Series as "haves" versus "have nots". The luxurious dodgers versus the rays of the small market, who struggle to fill their stalls even in times of no pandemic. An LA ownership group that includes Magic Johnson versus a Rays team is paying its current best player less than $ 200,000 for the entire season.
Sometimes narratives don't go together perfectly, but they do when you look at each team's payroll. In the season shortened by the pandemic, the Dodgers paid their squad $ 107.9 million, the second most popular in baseball behind the Yankees. The Rays paid out $ 28.3 million, the third lowest number in baseball, just ahead of the Pirates and Orioles (all payroll through Spotrac).
The Dodgers have made their third World Series in four years, and while they haven't won yet, they consistently follow the expectations that come from high salaries. The Rays remain one of the best baseball teams when it comes to finding extreme value. This led to their second World Series appearance (2008) in franchise history. While their payrolls could look very different, it will be close to a fair fight when LA and Tampa Bay enter the field in the 2020 World Series.
WORLD SERIES 2020: The Keys to Dodgers vs. Break down the rays
Los Angeles Dodgers Payroll 2020
The Dodgers' payroll in 2020 is up $ 107.9 million, the second highest in baseball behind the Yankees.
LA's highest paid player is left-handed franchise legend Clayton Kershaw. In a normal season he would have made $ 31 million – due to the shortened year, Kershaw made $ 16.3 million. He is followed by Mookie Betts, who even made $ 10 million in his first year in LA. Betts' salary is the final year of his previous contract before a 12-year $ 365 million extension that he signed with the Dodgers.
L.A. has freely spent money to bring in veterans when needed. That includes A.J. Pollock ($ 7.4 million in 2020), Blake Treinen ($ 3.7 million), and Joe Kelly ($ 3.1 million). The Dodgers have also signed reclamation projects that pay off for more money than they originally earned. Justin Turner made a third on the team that season, $ 8.0 million, and Max Muncy made $ 1.9 million.
The main reason the Dodgers don't shoot more than the Yankees is because of their player development. The salary structure of baseball is favorable for domestic players before they reach the free hand. That's why one of the top baseball players, Cody Bellinger, makes $ 4.3 million this year, and why NLCS hero Corey Seager makes $ 2.8 million less. Then you have teens like left Julio Urias, right Walker Buehler, and catcher Will Smith, all of whom are making less than $ 400,000 in the cut season.
In a full 162-game season, the Dodgers would have paid $ 191.2 million in salaries. Kershaw would have made $ 31 million while Betts would have made $ 32 million (Kershaw made more in the shortened season due to a disproportionately high contract signing bonus). The Dodgers are also paying pitcher David Price more than $ 5 million in 2020 after he signed off from the season.
Tampa Bay Rays 2020 Payroll
The Rays' 2020 payroll is up $ 28.3 million, the third lowest number in baseball, just ahead of the Pirates and Orioles.
The highest paid player on Tampa's roster is Charlie Morton, who will make $ 5.6 million adjusted from his usual salary of $ 15 million. Tampa Bay will pay five other active players more than $ 1 million in 2020: Kevin Kiermaier ($ 3.9 million), Blake Snell ($ 3.2 million), Yoshi Tsutsugo ($ 1.9 million) Dollars), Mike Zunino ($ 1.7 million), and Hunter Renfroe ($ 1.2 million).
Even if Tampa Bay signs free agents, it can't shell out the money the Dodgers can. Morton and Tsutsugo were both mid-size free agent signings, Morton as an aging pitcher from the Astros and Tsutsugo as an unproven player from Japan. Zunino is the only other player on the Rays' active squad to be signed as a Major League free agent.
Most of the Tampa Bay roster comes from drafting, trading, or speculative signings by free agents in the minor league. Renfroe, Tyler Glasnow, Manuel Margot, Joey Wendle, Austin Meadows, Yandy Diaz, Willy Adames and Ji-Man Choi are among the rays acquired through trade. None of them were traded in large contracts, but rather as relatively young players who hadn't yet earned that first big payday. The Rays have also hit some key draft picks to win Snell, Brandon Lowe, Kiermaier, and highly competitive reliever Josh Fleming.
In a full season of 162 games, the Rays would have paid a total of $ 67.6 million and they would have paid 10 players more than $ 1 million. The fourth largest payment the Rays will make in 2020 is $ 2 million to Evan Longoria, which they agreed to trade with the San Francisco Giants while trading the third baseman. This number is not adjusted for the shortened season.
MORE: Why the Dodgers Should Worry About Ji-Man Choi
5 Insane Salary Statistics Between Dodgers And Rays
- The Rays would have paid about $ 40 million less in a 162-game season than the Dodgers in the season shortened by the pandemic.
- Despite the Dodgers' massive payroll, Morton actually makes up a higher percentage of his team's payroll expenses (19.64 percent) than Kershaw the Dodgers (15.11 percent).
- Kershaw and Betts combined made around 93 percent of Rays total salaries in 2020.
- The Rays paid Randy Arozarena $ 90,335 to enter the World Series. The ALCS MVP would have made $ 563,500 in a full season but wasn't promoted to the Tampa Bay active roster until Aug. 30.
- The Dodgers still owe Homer Bailey $ 5 million this year from a previous free agent deal, even though Bailey wasn't in the MLB in 2020. That would be the second highest salary in Tampa Bay. And the $ 5.9 million the Dodgers pay that year would be the highest salary in Tampa Bay.