Easily outdistancing their previous record of $113.2 million in 2011, Year 2 at Target Field, the Twins will trot out for Opening Day in Baltimore on Thursday with a $128.4 million payroll.
That includes $29.35 million for four starting pitchers on the disabled list — Ervin Santana ($13.5 million), Phil Hughes ($13.2 million), Michael Pineda ($2 million) and Trevor May ($650,000). It also includes $401,000 in termination pay for Anibal Sanchez, now with the Atlanta Braves after being released in mid-March.
The four-man rotation that will open the season for the Twins will cost a combined $23.07 million, led by newly signed Lance Lynn ($12 million) and trade acquisition Jake Odorizzi ($6.3 million).
A youthful starting outfield of Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario, all making a little over the major-league minimum of $545,000, will pull down a combined $1.77 million this season. That’s less than half the average big-league salary of about $4.5 million, according to the Associated Press.
Journeyman reserve outfielder Ryan LaMarre will make $585,000 this season, $5,000 more than Buxton, despite the fact LaMarre has just 76 days of big-league service time and a career .054 batting average (2 for 37) in parts of three big-league seasons.
Buxton, coming off his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award and a 5.2 Wins Above Replacement season (as measured by Baseball-Reference.com), missed Super-2 arbitration status by two months with two years and 64 days of service time.
Even with three veteran bullpen additions in closer Fernando Rodney ($4.25 million), Addison Reed ($8.25 million) and Zach Duke ($2.15 million), the eight-man Twins bullpen will cost a combined $18.46 million to start the year. That’s not much more than the Colorado Rockies will pay new closer Wade Davis ($16 million) this season.
Rookie relievers Tyler Kinley and Gabriel Moya are the only Twins making the league minimum to start the season.
Payroll calculations also include a first-half rebate on shortstop Jorge Polanco, whose 80-game steroid suspension will cost him $291,000 during an 80-game suspension without pay.
Not included are a $700,000 buyout to retired reliever Glen Perkins and an unknown buyout — believed to be less than $1 million — to Korean slugger ByungHo Park. For luxury-tax purposes those are counted against 2017 payroll, but they would count for 2018 under the AP formula.
Here’s a full breakdown of the Twins’ Opening Day salaries with the help of club and industry sources:
RHP Ervin Santana $13,500,000 (DL)
RHP Phil Hughes $13,200,000 (DL)
RHP Lance Lynn $12,000,000
RHP Addison Reed $8,250,000
RHP Jake Odorizzi $6,300,000
RHP Fernando Rodney $4,250,000
RHP Kyle Gibson $4,200,000
LHP Zach Duke $2,150,000
RHP Michael Pineda $2,000,000 (DL)
RHP Ryan Pressly $1,600,000
RHP Trevor May $650,000 (DL)
RHP Jose Berrios $570,000
LHP Taylor Rogers $565,000
RHP Trevor Hildenberger $555,000
LHP Gabriel Moya $545,000
RHP Tyler Kinley $545,000
Jason Castro $8,000,000
Mitch Garver $547,500
Joe Mauer $23,000,000
Brian Dozier $9,000,000
Logan Morrison $5,500,000
Eduardo Escobar $4,850,000
Ehire Adrianza $1,000,000
Miguel Sano $602,500
Jorge Polanco $283,951 (Restricted)
Robbie Grossman $2,000,000
Eddie Rosario $602,500
Max Kepler $587,500
Ryan LaMarre $585,000
Byron Buxton $580,000
TOTAL PAYROLL >
*Includes termination pay to Anibal Sanchez