There are six MLB teams that are expected to pay the luxury tax this year, according to payroll reports obtained by USA Today. Based on that report, not only will the Yankees be paying the luxury tax — their favorite pastime at this point — but five other teams will be joining them in doing so.
Those five other teams are the Dodgers, Red Sox, Tigers, Cubs, and Giants. Their 2017 payrolls, which are based off of the average annual value of contracts as well as bonuses from this season, are $244 million, $187.9 million, $190.4 million, $186.5 million, and $186.4 million, respectively. The Yankees spent $209.3 million and will be paying the tax for the 15th straight season.
This year’s luxury tax threshold was set at $195 million and if you are thinking “but wait, only two of the above teams spent more than that” you’d be correct.
Unfortunately for those teams, benefits are also included in the final tally, which amount to about $13 million for a 40-man roster on top of what they spent on salary and bonuses.
And they would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for that meddling CBA!
Besides teams having to pay the tax itself, this year being in the luxury tax also affects how qualifying offer compensation works, which you can read all about here. But in short, if the team is on the signing side of a player that rejected a qualifying offer, it works like this:
If a team went over the luxury tax the season before, it loses its second- and fifth-highest picks in the next year’s draft. It also loses $1 million from its international bonus pool money. If these teams sign more than one free agent that declined a qualifying offer, it loses its third- and sixth-highest draft picks on top of that.
And if they are on the rejection side of a qualifying offer, it works like this:
If the team that loses a free agent after extending a qualifying offer pays the luxury tax, their compensation pick will come after the fourth round is over. If they didn’t, and also didn’t receive revenue sharing, that pick will come after Competitive Balance Round B.
So it definitely makes more of a difference when going into free agency than it did in previous years.
Next year, the threshold is expected to be slightly higher at about $197 million, so there’s a chance a few of these teams avoid paying the tax if their books stay about the same. For now, they’re all paying up though.