Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Record Payroll Still Ranks 24 of 30

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Record Payroll Still Ranks 24 of 30

Article excerpt

The Pirates finished the 2015 season with a record payroll of $95,889,960, according to figures obtained by The Associated Press, surpassing their previous record by roughly $17.5 million.

Despite the increase, the Pirates ranked 24th in payroll among the 30 MLB teams. They ranked 27th in 2014.

The $95.9 million figure covers the 40-man roster and includes pro-rated shares of signing bonuses, incentives, cash transactions and buyouts. It does not include roughly $12 million paid toward pensions and benefits.

Francisco Liriano was the highest-paid player in 2015, making $11 million (the Pirates were only responsible for a portion of Aramis Ramirez's $14 million salary after they traded for him). Andrew McCutchen made $10 million, A.J. Burnett made $8.5 million, and Neil Walker and Charlie Morton each made $8 million. Burnett, Walker, Morton and Pedro Alvarez are gone; Burnett retired, but trading Walker and Morton, and non-tendering Alvarez, saved roughly $17 million on the 2016 payroll when factoring in the acquisition of Jon Niese's salary.

"A big part of the motivation was to free some dollars to allow us to deepen the club, to re-establish our depth," general manager Neal Huntington said after the Pirates traded Morton.

The Pirates have roughly $93 million committed to their 2016 payroll, including arbitration projections. They are only responsible for about $90 million because the Los Angeles Dodgers included some cash in the Michael Morse trade.

The Dodgers had baseball's highest payroll at $291 million. The New York Yankees ($223 million) and Boston Red Sox ($185 million) followed.

The World Series champion Kansas City Royals ranked 13th at $128 million. The Miami Marlins had an MLB-low $63 million payroll.

Around the National League Central Division, the Chicago Cubs led the way with a $133 million payroll; the St. …

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