The New York Mets are on track to boast the highest payroll in the Majors

NEW YORK — The Mets are on track to have baseball’s highest payroll for the first time since 1989, among a record six teams that will pay a spending penalty.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who started the season as the top spenders, fell to second due to Trevor Bauer’s suspension.

New York entered the final full month of the season with a payroll of $273.9 million, according to Aug. 31 figures compiled by Major League Baseball. The Dodgers are second with $267.2 million, followed by the New York Yankees with $254.4 million.

The Mets are hoping to win their first World Series title since 1986.

“I have expectations that the Mets will be the last team standing.” What else? I mean, that’s why we wake up in the morning every day,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said Sunday. It’s a little cold. It’s a bit cruel, but I prefer to know in advance what the ending is going to be. Some people spend their whole lives not knowing exactly what success should be. No one here has to tell me how we are. There are signs and positions. It’s there. If you don’t like it, play better.”

At a cap hit of $43.3 million, Mets shortstop Max Scherzer makes about $5 million less than the entire Oakland team, joining teammates Jacob deGrom and Francisco Lindor at about $103 million, plus eight of 30 clubs.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, led by Mookie Betts, have the second highest payroll in the Major Leagues. (File, archive)

The last time the Mets surpassed MLB in payroll, their total was $21.3 million.

The Dodgers’ payroll took a hit when Bauer was suspended for two years without pay on April 29 for violating the sport’s domestic violence policy. Bauer’s salary in 2022 was $32 million, but it was reduced to what he had at the time of the suspension: $3.8 million. He is defying discipline in front of the referee.

Los Angeles led in payroll in both 2020 and 2021. The Dodgers set a payroll record with $291 million in 2015.

The Mets’ payroll has risen steadily since Steven Cohen bought the team from the Wilpon and Katz families after the 2020 season. The Mets’ spending increased from $146 million in 2019 to $199 million last year, the first season after the pandemic, negotiators said. last March that new tax limits were aimed at him. Cohen then joked, “It’s better to have a bridge on it.”

For luxury tax purposes, which uses average annual values ​​for players on the 40-man roster, the Mets are on track to set a record $298.8 million, dwarfing the Dodgers’ $297.9 million in 2015. Luxury tax salaries include just over $16 million per team for benefits and $1.67 million for each club’s share of the new $50 million players’ arbitration fund.

The Mets are in line for a $29.9 million tax, a midseason trade that boosted their tax payroll from an Opening Day budget of $289.3 million and past a new $290 million threshold in a March deal that ended a 99-day lockout.

The Dodgers opened this season with a $310 million tax bill, en route to paying a record $47 million fine. Their payroll was reduced to $289.96 million by August 31, leaving them eligible for the Cohen tax. At higher tax rates as a repeat offender, the Dodgers are on track to pay $29.4 million.

The Yankees have $267 million in taxes and an estimated tax of $9.4 million and the Phillies at $243 million should owe $2.6 million.

Boston, just above the first threshold of $234.5 million, would owe about $900,000. After paying taxes for the first time last year, San Diego is another offender with a payroll of about $233 million and just over $800,000 in taxes.

The four tax thresholds this year are $230 million, $250 million, $270 million and $290 million.

First offenders pay 20% of the amount above the first threshold, 32% above the second, 62.5% above the third and 80% above the fourth.

As a repeat offender, the Dodgers pay 30% over the first, 42% over the second, 75% over the third and 90% over the fourth.

The Yankees have paid $348 million in taxes since the sanctions began in 2003, followed by the Dodgers’ $182 million.

Only once before have six teams paid taxes, but the Dodgers and Yankees were joined in 2016 by the Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Detroit and San Francisco for a total of $74 million.

Oakland has the lowest regular payroll at $49 million and the lowest taxes at $65 million.

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